DHARAMSALA, India, CMC – An upbeat West Indies Women take on one of the tournament favourites, England Women, here Thursday, cognisant of the fact a victory will secure them a berth in the final four of the Women’s Twenty20 World Cup.
The Caribbean side sit top of Group B with four points following wins over Pakistan Women and Bangladesh Women, but will know their English opponents provide their sternest test yet, in the fixture set for the picturesque HPCA Stadium at 7:30 pm (10 am Eastern Caribbean time).
Head coach Vasbert Drakes said the side were aware of the importance of the game and were motivated, especially coming off back-to-back wins.
“I think it is important that we play some good cricket tomorrow. Obviously the points would give us that momentum going into the semi-finals,” the former West Indies all-rounder said Wednesday.
“We’ve won the first two games and the ladies are feeling quite confident in their ability to execute our game plan come tomorrow against England.”
He added: “Obviously you want to see the energy from ball one, you want to see us getting involved in the game and trying to control the game early on and trying to create some pressure and keep that pressure for a long period of time.
“We believe with our team, we’ve seen a balance within in the last two games. Everyone is feeling quite confident that on their given day, if they can execute, they can get the upper hand on England.”
West Indies Women opened the tournament with victory over Pakistan Women when they superbly defended a paltry total of 103.
They were sharper in their outing against Bangladesh Women last Sunday, posting a competitive 148 and then restricting their opponents to a mere 99.
Towards the end of the recent tour of South Africa, the team’s form dipped and concerns remain over the batting, despite the two opening wins. However, Drakes believes these were being ironed out and progress was being made.
“Coming out of South Africa we would have dipped on form after the ODI series as we were looking at some other combinations as it relates to having the best possible XI come the T20s in India,” he explained.
“Spending some time in India and adjusting quite quickly to the slow and turning wickets, [openers] Hayley Matthews and certainly the captain Stafanie Taylor … they have made good progress.”
In both games, Windies Women managed to restrict their opposition to under 100 runs, courtesy of the off-spin trio of Matthews, Taylor and frontline bowler Anisa Mohammed.
Drakes said he did not foresee any major changes in this approach especially with the pitch at the HPCA Stadium looking conducive to slow bowling.
“We as a unit, we have always talked about everyone making a contribution to the team cause and the two games that we have played, you can see that the spinners have really come into the equation on the wickets in India and bowled with some subtle variations that would have created the pressure on the Bangladeshis and certainly on the Pakistanis,” Drakes explained.
“I don’t think that’s going to change tomorrow. We’re looking at the wicket and the wicket looks pretty flat, pretty dry also so spin will definitely come into the equation, so if we continue to execute our game plan we will continue to create the pressure that would allow us to control the game against England.”
In the conditions, however, Drakes said both teams would enter the contest on par, noting West Indies Women just needed to execute in all departments.
“Playing in the subcontinent, anyone can win the game. If you can get a par score on that wicket which is 125, we certainly are going to be in the game,” he contended.
“That will be our priority, to make sure we put some runs on the board if we bat first so we would be able to control the game in that manner.”
ENGLAND WOMEN – Charlotte Edwards (captain), Tammy Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Georgia Elwiss, Natasha Farrant, Lydia Greenway, Rebecca Grundy, Jenny Gunn, Amy Jones, Heather Knight, Natalie Sciver, Anya Shrubsole, Sarah Taylor, Danielle Wyatt, Laura Marsh.
WEST INDIES WOMEN – Stafanie Taylor (captain), Shakera Selman, Merissa Aguilleira, Shemaine Campbelle, Shamilia Connell, Britney Cooper, Deandra Dottin, Afy Fletcher, Stacy-Ann King, Kycia Knight, Kyshona Knight, Hayley Matthews, Anisa Mohammed, Shaquana Quintyne, Tremayne Smartt.