The Proteas Women could play as many as nine matches during the World Cup Qualifiers, which runs from 7-21 February in Sri Lanka.
Dane van Niekerk’s side will begin with a warm-up match against India on 5 February, before four potentially challenging group matches with the aim of qualifying for the Super Six stage, which sees the top four progress to the main event.
The sides finishing in the top four will join defending champions Australia, hosts England, former winners New Zealand and reigning ICC World Twenty20 champions West Indies in the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 from 26 June to 23 July.
Asian champions and former World Cup finalists India leads Group A which also includes Sri Lanka, Ireland, Zimbabwe and Thailand, while the Proteas Women heads Group B which comprises Pakistan, Bangladesh, Scotland and Papua New Guinea (PNG).
Each side will play four matches in the first round, following which the top three sides from each group will progress to the Super Six stage, while also carrying forward points they earn against sides which have progressed to the Super Six stage from their group.
The top four sides from the Super Six stage, in which each side will play three matches against teams from the other group, will complete the eight-team line-up for the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017, while the top two sides will battle out for the title in the 21 February final.
Holly Colvin, ICC’s Women’s Cricket Officer and a World Cup winner with England in 2009, said:
‘The top four sides from the Super Six stage will not only qualify for the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017, but they will also secure places in the next edition of the ICC Women’s Championship.
‘There is incentive for the remaining two sides from the Super Six stage, which will secure ODI status for the next four years.’
Group A – India, Sri Lanka, Ireland, Zimbabwe and Thailand
Group B – South Africa, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Scotland and Papua New Guinea
Sunday, 5 February – India vs South Africa, P.Sara Stadium; Sri Lanka vs Pakistan, Mercantile Cricket Association
(MCA); Ireland vs Bangladesh, Nondescripts Cricket Club (NCC); Zimbabwe vs Scotland, Colombo Cricket Club
(CCC); Thailand vs PNG, Moors Sports Club.
Tournament fixtures (first round)
Tuesday, 7 February – Sri Lanka vs India, P.Sara Stadium; Ireland vs Zimbabwe, MCA; South Africa vs Pakistan, NCC; Zimbabwe vs Scotland, CCC
Wednesday, 8 February – Pakistan vs Bangladesh, P.Sara Stadium; Scotland vs South Africa, MCA; Sri Lanka vs Ireland, NCC; India vs Thailand, CCC
Friday, 10 February – India vs Ireland, P.Sara Stadium; Thailand vs Zimbabwe, MCA
Saturday, 11 February – South Africa vs Bangladesh, P.Sara Stadium; Scotland vs PNG, MCA; Sri Lanka vs Zimbabwe, NCC; Ireland vs Thailand, CCC
Monday, 13 February – Zimbabwe vs India, P.Sara Stadium; Sri Lanka vs Thailand, MCA; South Africa vs PNG, NCC; Pakistan vs Scotland, CCC
Super Six stage (teams to be confirmed after 13 February matches)
Wednesday, 15 February – Match 21, P.Sara Stadium; Match 22, NCC; Match 23, CCC
Friday, 17 February – Match 24, P.Sara Stadium; Match 25, NCC; Match 26, CCC
Sunday, 19 February – Match 27, P.Sara Stadium; Match 28, NCC; Match 29, CCC
Tuesday, 21 February – FINAL