LEICESTER, England, CMC – Without a win in four outings in their build-up to next weekend’s start of the ICC Women’s World Cup, assistant coach Stuart Williams has underscored the importance of West Indies winning their final official warm-up game on Thursday, in order to enter the tournament with momentum.
The Windies take on South Africa Women in Oakham, 45 minutes outside Leicester, in a contest that takes on special significance with the Caribbean side searching for that elusive win after three weeks in England preparing for the June 24 to July 23 showpiece.
Williams pointed out that winning bred confidence and this was needed ahead of the Windies opening match of the tournament next Monday against Australia Women.
“In terms of batting, runs give you confidence so winning gives you confidence,” said the former West Indies opener.
“So it’s very important that we put in a good performance tomorrow and hopefully we come out with a win and that would give the girls some confidence going into the first game.”
He added: “It’s just about getting that combination right and we haven’t played our best team yet so there’s no cause for panic or anything like that. By the time next week comes, we’ll be alright.”
Their most recent outing on Tuesday against Pakistan Women saw West Indies go down by five wickets at Grace Road, despite posting a respectable 246 for seven from their 50 overs.
They managed to reduce their opponents 63 for three before half-centuries from Nain Abidi Bismah Maroof snatched the game away from them.
Williams said while disappointed to lose, there was cause for encouragement with several of the performances.
“The pleasing thing [about Tuesday’s game] is we made [nearly] 250 without the skipper’s (Stafanie Taylor) contribution and Hayley (Matthews) and (Deandra) Dottin got run out in the 30s so the basic fundamentals are there so we’re looking solid as a batting group,” Williams reasoned.
“But cricket is just not about batting alone, we still have to get our other skills up to level in terms of the bowling and the fielding.”
One of the stand-outs was the uncapped opener Felicia Walters who top-scored with 59 to gather her first half-century in West Indies colours.
Williams said the 25-year-old had progressed well on tour so far and had taken on board the advice to increase her tempo at the crease.
“One of the things she has improved on is her intent,” Williams explained.
“She always has this longevity [about her batting] and sticking around but what we’ve got her to do is have more intent – rotating the strike and hitting the bad balls when they come about. It was pleasing to see her getting a half-century.”
He continued: “Merissa (Aguilleira) again she continued her good form by getting 40-odd, Hayley getting 30-odd without any problems at all and Dottin being her usual self. Our batting group is getting there.”