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LAHORE, Feb 09 (APP): Pakistan women’s national cricket team’s preparations for all-important ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup Qualifiers – to be held later this year – will continue from Tuesday (today) when they take on Zimbabwe Women in the first of the three 50-over matches at the Harare Sports Club.

The contest will also mark the first instance of a Pakistan women’s side playing on Zimbabwe soil, said a spokesman of the Pakistan Cricket Board here.

The three one-day matches – to be played on February 9, 12 and 14 – will be followed by three T20Is, which will see the two sides come face to face for the first time in international cricket.

Pakistan enter the series on the back of a limited overs tour of South Africa, where they played three ODIs and three T20Is. In their first series in the post-Covid-19 era, the Javeria Khan-captained team produced some fine individual and collective performances despite finishing on the losing side in both series.

All-rounder Aliya Riaz ended the ODI series as the highest run-getter from both teams with 136 runs in three matches – which also included her career-best 81 – while right-arm pacer Diana Baig took nine wickets – including her best figures of four for 30 – on what was her first tour of the country.

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They capped off the tour with an impressive win in the third and final T20I, thanks to Javeria, who scored a brilliant 56 not out on her return to the side after sustaining a finger injury which restricted her to the dugout in the first two T20Is.

Javeria says the team’s aim in this series is to build on the win in Durban and ingrain consistency and favourable results. While speaking to PCB Digital, she said: “This series is a great opportunity for the side to make the most of the victory in the final T20I and develop it into a habit.

“Everyone in the team is excited to be in Zimbabwe and to play six matches over the course of the next two weeks at the historic Harare Sports Club in a time when not many women’s matches are happening around the world.

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“Zimbabwe are one of the 10 teams who will be present at the World Cup Qualifiers and playing them ahead of the all-important event gives us crucial match practice. At the same time, this series will help us provide opportunities to exciting young cricketers in the ranks in competitive matches and gauge how they react.”

The six matches will be live-streamed in Pakistan through Zimbabwe Cricket’s official YouTube channel and Facebook page. The one-days and T20Is will begin at 12pm and 1pm (Pakistan Standard Time), respectively.

Pakistan squad:
Javeria Khan (c), Aimen Anwar, Aliya Riaz, Anam Amin, Ayesha Naseem, Ayesha Zafar, Diana Baig, Fatima Sana, Kainat Imtiaz, Muneeba Ali Siddiqui, Nahida Khan, Nashra Sandhu, Nida Dar, Omaima Sohail, Sadia Iqbal, Sidra Nawaz (wk) and Syeda Aroob Shah

Fixtures (all matches at Harare Sports Club):
9 Feb – first 50-over match
12 Feb – second 50-over match
14 Feb – third 50-over match
17 Feb – 1st T20I
19 Feb – 2nd T20I
20 Feb – 3rd T20I