By Jamil Bhatti
ISLAMABAD, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- Pakistan women cricket team departed for Sri Lanka on Friday from eastern city of Lahore to participate in the upcoming Women Twenty20 World Cup starting next week.
Pakistan is one of the eight teams featuring in the event scheduled to be held from Sept. 26 to Oct. 7 in Sri Lanka's two cities of Galle and Colombo.
All eight teams are divided into two groups with Pakistan placed in Group A alongside England, Australia and India while Group B comprises West Indies, Sri Lanka, New Zealand and South Africa.
In every Group, all four teams will play matches against each other and the top two teams would qualify for the semifinals stage.
Pakistan team will play its first match against England on Sep 27 at Galle International Cricket Stadium.
In spite of being ranked at No. 6 among the international women cricket teams, Pakistani players looked confident and full of enthusiasm to go for the title.
Sports analysts and experts started considering Pakistan as one of the favorite teams for the event along with Australia, England and India, especially after its successful European tour in which Pakistan team won two tri-nation trophies in Ireland last month.
Sana Mir, all-rounder and one of the top 20 women cricketers in the world, is leading the Pakistan's 14-member squad with Nain Abidi as her deputy.
"European tour and victories added confidence into our team and players' morale is quite high. We are placed in the tough Group but we have well prepared for the world cup and will challenge top teams," Mir told media before departure.
Vice Captain Abidi demanded that there should be wider public support for women's cricket in the country, more encouragement and appreciation as the male cricketers get.
Pakistani team's bowling has been remained pretty good, leading from the front to win matches but the biggest drawback is inconsistent batting. Experts believe that if Pakistani batting line clicks and succeeds to set good total it will be in position to win the match with its strong bowling.
"We have defeated many strong teams during last couple of years and believe that our team can give tough time to any side," said Women team Coach Mohtashim Rasheed.
Earlier on Thursday, Chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Mohammad Zaka Asrhaf expressed the optimism that national women team will work hard and fight at its best to fulfil public expectations in the Women T20 World Cup in Sri Lanka.
"Our selected team is a combination of the talent and potential and now players need to produce good results in the mega event," Ashraf said during his meeting with the women team.
Winning the gold medal at the 2010 Asian Games in China opened many opportunities for Pakistani women cricketers to play full-time cricket besides getting a handsome annual contract amount from the PCB.