ACC Women's Tournament
This time last year, a grand total of 14 countries had fielded women's sides in international cricket. Since then, a further eleven counties have made their debuts, with four more set to field a side for the first time in next week's ACC women's tournament.
Eight teams will gather in Johor, Malaysia, with a spot in the next Women's Asia Cup the prize for the winners. The teams will be divided into two groups. Group A consists of Hong Kong, Malaysia, Nepal and Thailand whilst Bangladesh, China, Singapore and the UAE comprise Group B.
With all these teams being very inexperienced, to the extent that even the most experienced side, Hong Kong, have only played five internationals to date, it is difficult to predict a winner.
Whilst if this was a men's tournament, one would expect Bangladesh to walk away with it, this is the first time a Bangladesh women's side plays cricket, so it isn't that sure a thing. As mentioned, Hong Kong are the most experienced side, and although they lost heavily in their three World Cup qualifying matches against Pakistan, the very fact that they were chosen as the only other Asian side to play in those qualifiers would suggest that they are favourites. Two recent heavy wins over China also mean that they are in winning form at the moment.
China are one of the other three teams who have played before. Aside from those two thrashings at the hands of Hong Kong, their only other match was a Sixes match against Scotland, which they also lost. Malaysia and Singapore have played once against each other, but that is the extent of their international cricket.
The other four teams then are very much all dark horses. The love of the game in Bangladesh may mean that they stand a chance of reaching the final, the other three countries could struggle, especially the UAE, where women's cricket has been played seriously for just two months.
My prediction is for a Hong Kong v Bangladesh final on the 18th, with Hong Kong just taking it.