The Indian women’s cricket can climb to fourth spot in the ICC rankings if it manages a clean sweep of the forthcoming ODI series against New Zealand, which starts in Bangalore on Sunday.
The series includes five ODIs but only the first three matches scheduled for 28 June, 1 and 3 July will count towards the eight-team ICC Women’s Championship. The top four sides from this tournament will qualify automatically for the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017, while the bottom four sides will play in the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier.
India is currently rooted to the bottom of the table on three points, with the White Ferns a point and a place ahead in seventh. A 3-0 series victory for the visitors would see it move to joint third place alongside the West Indies, while a 2-1 win would see both sides rise up the table; New Zealand into joint fourth while India would leapfrog Sri Lanka.
Looking ahead to the three-match ODI series, India captain Mithali Raj said: “This series of games is vitally important as we bid to improve our standing in the Women’s Championship, and we know that we will be facing a well-drilled and talented New Zealand side. Our preparation has been good and there’s a positive feeling in the squad that we can turn around our form and get the win. If we can execute our game-plan and play a consistent brand of attacking cricket, then we are confident that we can cause the White Ferns some problems.
“There are some new faces in the squad and we believe that they will supplement our squad for this series and going forward as well. There’s a huge incentive for teams to perform well in this series and we’re focused on the task at hand. We’re excited to be playing at home and are hopeful that we can count on a strong following in Bangalore.”
Meanwhile, India will look to Jhulan Goswami who is currently the top ranked bowler in the ICC rankings as it bids to improve its ranking heading into the series. The medium-pace bowler has been in fine form of late in the competition and is also the highest ranked all-rounder where she lies in fifth place on 233 points, three adrift of South Africa’s Marizanne Kapp.