Momentum created by beating India will help in series v Ireland: Pak pacer Fatima Sana

Young Pakistan women’s team pace bowler Fatima Sana believes the momentum created by defeating India in the ACC Women’s T20 Asia Cup recently in Bangladesh will give her side the confidence to go into the six-match white-ball series against Ireland at home with an extremely positive mind-set.

Pakistan’s pace bowling has been boosted by the return of Sana. The 20-year-old quick has regained her fitness after missing out in the T20 Asia Cup due to an ankle injury sustained during the Women’s Caribbean Premier League (CPL) while representing Barbados Royals. Pakistan, though, will be without their fast bowler Diana Baig, ruled out of the series due to shoulder injury.

The Ireland women’s team, embarking on their maiden tour to Pakistan, is due to arrive in Lahore on Sunday. The teams will feature in six limited-overs matches — three ODIs, part of the ICC Women’s Championship, and three T20Is from November 4-16 at the Gaddafi Stadium here.

“It was great to see the team’s momentum in the ACC Women’s T20 Asia Cup (in Bangladesh). The way we defeated India helped me gain confidence when I joined the squad for the pre-series camp against Ireland,” said Sana on Saturday.

“It is great to see Ireland coming here for the first time, we will try to keep our winning momentum going in the forthcoming series as well,” said Sana, who made her debut in the 2019 series against South Africa in South Africa. She has so far featured in 25 ODIs, taking 36 wickets, with 5/39 her best match figures, which came against West Indies in Antigua in 2019. In 15 T20Is, she has 12 dismissals to her name, with three for 27 her career-best.

On her bowling partnership with Diana, who is not in the side, Fatima said, “I have a good combination with Danny (Diana Baig). The side will surely miss Diana, but we have other fast bowlers in the side which are good enough to challenge the Irish side.”

Fatima, who bagged the ICC Emerging Cricketer of the Year award in 2021, while sharing her thoughts on the significance of playing at home, said, “When I was a net bowler, I always used to wonder when I will get an opportunity to play and represent my country. My message to young U19 and emerging players will be to come out and support your team and witness themselves as how overseas players approach the game.”

The ODI and T20I squads are currently undergoing a five-day pre-series camp at the National High Performance Centre in Lahore ahead of the Ireland assignment.

Itinerary: ODIs – Nov 4, 6 and 9. T20Is – Nov 12, 14, 16.

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