England women to host South Africa, New Zealand in 2018

England women will take on South Africa and New Zealand in limited-overs series next summer. Following victory in this year’s World Cup, the ECB has announced an expanded programme for 2018, which will also see an increase to the Kia Super League fixture list.

The two touring teams will take part in a T20 tri-series, although there is no room for England to host a Test, despite the success of the day-night Ashes game in Sydney earlier this month.

Although the scene of England’s World Cup final triumph was a packed-out Lord’s, women’s games will continue to be hosted largely at the smaller county grounds. Worcester, Hove, Canterbury, Taunton, Bristol, Chelmsford, Derby and Leicester will all be venues, while Headingley will stage an England women’s game for the first time since the 2001 Ashes Test.

South Africa will arrive first, for three ODIs in June – with World Cup qualification points at stake – to be followed by the tri-series and then another three ODIs with New Zealand in July. The T20s will feature an innovation in that two fixtures will be played back-to-back at each ground.

The third edition of the KSL will then follow in August, with Finals Day to be held at Hove once again. In 2018, the six teams will play each other twice in the group stage, rather than just once.

“We are very excited to be staging two different series against high-class opposition next summer with an expanded fixture list reflecting increased spectator interest in watching the England Women’s team in action,” Clare Connor, ECB director of women’s cricket, said.

“Last summer’s World Cup success must be the watershed moment for our game that everyone is saying it could be. We will measure that through on-pitch performances, ticket sales, numbers of viewers and listeners and our ability to attract new fans and participants.

“The 2018 schedule is an exciting one across both white ball formats and will ensure that more people around the country have the chance to watch the team.

“Both South Africa and New Zealand will be tough tests for England and we can expect a competitive and exciting summer of cricket ahead in both formats.”

As well as being broadcast live on Sky Sports and BBC radio, England women will make their terrestrial TV bow, after Channel 5 bought the rights to show highlights from next summer. Tickets for the games will go on sale on December 12.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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