The ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier is set to commence on Thursday, 25 April at two Abu Dhabi venues – the Zayed Cricket Stadium and the adjacent Tolerance Oval.

The tournament will provide 10 teams an opportunity of securing one of the two available spots in this year’s ICC Women’s T20 World Cup which will be played in Bangladesh in September-October. The finalists will join the hosts, Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa and the West Indies in the pinnacle Women’s T20 tournament.

In the Abu Dhabi Qualifier, Scotland, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Uganda and the United States of America (USA) feature in Group A, while Ireland, the Netherlands, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Vanuatu and Zimbabwe make up Group B. Each of the 10 teams have star performers who their teams will be relying on to deliver the goods in the two-week long event.

Gaby Lewis – Ireland:

Ireland’s 23-year-old batter, Gaby Lewis, has already earned 81 T20I caps for her country. The top-order batter, who mostly opens the innings, has scored 1,879 runs at an average of 27.63 with the help of a century and 11 half-centuries, Lewis has a career strike-rate of 113.39.

Lewis was 13 when she made her T20I debut against South Africa in September 2014. In her 10-year career, she has gone on to become the leading T20I scorer for Ireland. The batting mainstay will be crucial to her team’s chances of securing one of the two ICC Women’s T20 World Cup spots on offer in the Abu Dhabi Qualifier. Ireland take on the Netherlands, the UAE, Vanuatu and Zimbabwe in Qualifier’s Group B.

Sterre Kalis – Netherlands:

Sterre Kalis is one of the star top-order batters in the Netherlands side. In 30 T20Is, the right-handed batter has scored 973 runs at a healthy average of 37.42. Kalis has also scored a T20I century and five half-centuries.

Kalis had a stellar 2023 in which the 24-year-old scored 176 runs in four matches at 88 runs per innings while maintaining an impressive 113.54 strike-rate. Kalis will be aiming to make a big contribution in the Netherlands’ bid of securing one of the two qualification spots in Abu Dhabi.

Kathryn Bryce – Scotland:

Scotland captain Kathryn Bryce will be pivotal to her team’s qualification chances in Abu Dhabi. The 26-year-old has led Scotland in all 40 of her T20I appearances. Bryce has remained consistent with the bat, scoring 1,020 runs in the format with the help of eight half-centuries at 36.42.

Bryce, who bats in the top-order, has also remained a valuable contributor with the ball. Her medium-pace bowling has helped her take 37 wickets at 15.08 per wicket. Scotland will aim to finish amongst the top two in Group B and earn a spot in the semi-finals, Bryce and her team are however set to face a stiff challenge from their Group opponents Sri Lanka, Thailand, Uganda and the USA.

Chamari Athapaththu – Sri Lanka:

Chamari Athapaththu is one of the stars of the women’s game. The left-hand opener has appeared in 125 T20Is for Sri Lanka and has often played a lead role in her team’s victories with attacking batting at the top of the order.

Athapaththu made her debut nearly 15 years ago. Her batting prowess and leadership skills have cemented her position as national captain and she has led the team for a major part of the past decade with 79 caps as captain.

Athapaththu has a formidable record in ODIs with her eight centuries in the format currently placing her as the joint fourth-highest century maker amongst women batters in the ODI format. The 34-year-old has also notched a T20I century, a smashing 113 against Australia at the North Sydney Oval in September 2019. She has hit a staggering 61 sixes in T20Is.

Earlier this month, Athapaththu led Sri Lanka to 2-1 T20I series win in South Africa and was named the Player of the Match in the series decider. Last year she led the side to an ODI series win against New Zealand at home and an away T20I series win against England.

Natthakan Chantham – Thailand:

Natthakan Chantham is one of Thailand’s leading batters. The 28-year-old right-hander has gained invaluable experience in her six-year T20I career, which includes 78 appearances. The top-order batter usually opens the innings for her country, her tally of 1,645 runs includes nine half-centuries with a best of 88 not out.

Chantham was the player-of-the-match in Thailand’s historic, four-wicket win over Pakistan in the Women’s Asia Cup match in Sylhet two years ago. Opening the innings, she scored 61 off 51 balls (five fours, two sixes), which eventually helped her side qualify for the semi-finals, making history.

She was also one of Thailand’s most consistent batters in the team’s eventual qualification for the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in 2020, in which she also scored a half-century vs Pakistan.

Chantham would be vital to Thailand’s chances of advancing through to the semi-finals of the tournament from a tough Group A, which also features Scotland, Sri Lanka, Uganda and the USA.

Esha Oza – United Arab Emirates (UAE):

Esha Oza, the current UAE captain, is one of the most seasoned players amongst Associate Members. The all-rounder has scored 1,885 runs and taken 50 wickets in 74 T20Is. Oza is a pivotal figure in the UAE line-up and has regularly contributed to her team’s success both with her batting skills and bowling nous.

With the bat, she has three centuries under her belt, with a best of 158 not out against Bahrain. With the ball, Oza has maintained an impressive 4.62 economy and taken her 50 wickets at a miserly average of 15.18 runs per wicket.

The skipper would once again aim to lead her team from the front in the tournament with the UAE competing against Ireland, the Netherlands, Vanuatu and Zimbabwe in Group B.

Sindhu Sriharsha – United States of America (USA):

Sindhu Sriharsha is the USA’s long-standing captain; she has led the side in all the 28 T20Is played by them since the team’s debut in May 2019. The 35-year-old bats in the top-order and has accumulated 467 runs in 23 innings with the help of three fifties.

Sindhu Sriharsha would be hoping to lead from the front and deliver match-winning contributions with the bat in Abu Dhabi. The USA are placed in Group A with Scotland, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Uganda. Their group opponents are expected to provide them stiff competition in the race to the top two spots in the group – a place in the tournament semi-finals.

Immaculate Nakisuuyi – Uganda:

Uganda’s middle-order batter and off-spinner, Immaculate Nakisuyi, has been one of the team’s most consistent performers. In her 59-match T20I career, the 28-year-old, who made her debut in 2018, has scored 741 runs and taken 30 wickets.

Her all-round prowess has contributed immensely to the side’s recent success. In four appearances so far this year, Nakisuuyi has delivered with both bat and ball. Her 2024 tally of 95 runs includes an unbeaten 57, while her bowling has earned her eight wickets including a career-best of four for 15. Uganda will be battling it out with Scotland, Sri Lanka, Thailand and the USA in Group A, and for them to advance, Nakisuuyi, who also has captained the side in six matches, needs to play a leading role.

Rachel Andrew – Vanuatu:

Rachel Andrew is one of the mainstays of the Vanuatu women’s team and remained an influential figure in the team’s qualification for the all-important ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier.

The all-rounder, who bats right-handed and bowls right-arm medium pace, has so far tallied 781 runs in 36 T20Is. She has impressive numbers as a bowler as well, with 37 wickets at a miserly 12.27 runs per wicket.

Andrew generally opens the innings for her team and aims to take early wickets with the new ball. With Vanuatu set to be tested against Group B opponents Ireland, the Netherlands, Zimbabwe and the UAE, she will have a pivotal role to play for her side if they are to progress beyond the group stage.

Kelis Ndhlovu – Zimbabwe:

Zimbabwean teenager, Kelis Ndhlovu, has already become one of the established performers of her side. The 18-year-old all-rounder rose to prominence in the inaugural ICC Women’s U19 T20 World Cup 2023, where she captained Zimbabwe, and has also made a good start in 2024.

Her left-arm orthodox spin has helped her grab 11 wickets in 12 games in an overall tally of 34 T20I wickets.

Ndhlovu is also a capable batter. In 35 T20Is, the left-handed batter has scored two fifties and accumulated 601 runs.

At her young age, she has progressed to become a reliable all-rounder for Zimbabwe and her side will be banking on her for consistent contributions in their bid to secure one of the qualifying spots in Abu Dhabi.