Grace Road & Oakham named as warm-up venues

The schedule for the practice matches ahead of the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 was announced today with just over two months to go for the eight-team tournament which will be played in England and Wales from June 24 to July 23.

The practice matches, will be played at four different venues from June 19-22, including Grace Road and Oakham.

South Africa and Pakistan will get some tough practice upfront as they are scheduled to play six-time winner Australia and last time’s runner-up as well as ICC World Twenty20 champion the West Indies in their warm-up matches. Those four teams will play in Leicestershire and Rutland on June 20 and 22.

India will play New Zealand in Derbyshire while host England will take on Sri Lanka in Chesterfield on 19 June. Two days later, India will play Sri Lanka in Chesterfield and England will play New Zealand in Derbyshire.

The practice match schedule:

19 June: New Zealand v India in Derbyshire; England v Sri Lanka in Chesterfield.

20 June: West Indies v Pakistan in Leicestershire; Australia v South Africa in Oakham.

21 June: England v New Zealand in Derbyshire; India v Sri Lanka in Chesterfield.

22 June: Australia v Pakistan in Leicestershire; West Indies v South Africa in Oakham.

It will give sides the chance to acclimatize to the conditions and also test the calibre of teams they will face later, since all teams play each other in a round-robin league during the pinnacle women’s tournament.

The four top teams from the ICC Women’s Championship 2014-16 – Australia, England, New Zealand and the West Indies, qualified directly for the tournament while the remaining four – India, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Pakistan came through the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier 2017 played in Colombo in February this year.

The tournament proper, consisting of 31 matches, will be played across five venues including Lord’s, which will host the final on July 23. 

Captains of different teams are enthusiastic about playing the two practice matches each, hoping to make use of them in final preparations and to adjust to the conditions in England and Wales.

Australia captain Meg Lanning said her team would make the most of the practice matches in its bid to defend the title while England captain Heather Knight indicated that the matches would help them perform to their best in front of home crowds. 

Pakistan have Grace Road as a home venue for the ICC Women's World Cup. The nation are playing seven of nine fixtures at the venue.

Captain Sana Mir said: “The warm-up matches provide us with just the kind of chance one needs to fine-tune one’s game ahead of the ICC Women’s World Cup. We get to play last year’s finalists Australia and the West Indies in these matches and look forward to use the opportunity to prepare well for the tournament ahead.”