LEICESTER, England, CMC – Without a win on tour and with confidence quickly draining, West Indies Women face a massive challenge in turning around their ICC Women’s World Cup fortunes when they face South Africa Women in their third game here today.
The reigning Twenty20 World champions and 2013 50-overs World Cup finalists have been off the boil in the tournament, losing all five warm-up matches along with the first two games of the formal campaign.
And with five games left in the preliminaries, the Caribbean side are well aware that another defeat would seriously put in jeopardy their chances of making the final four of the competition.
Under-pressure captain Stafanie Taylor said yesterday the importance of the South Africa contest at Grace Road was not lost on her her side.
“We know how important all games are going forward especially starting tomorrow,” the 26-year-old said.
“I think we need to take things in stride and coming tomorrow we will be looking to play hard cricket and fight for this one.”
WORRYING TIMES: West Indies Women’s captain Stafanie Taylor (right) chats with head coach Vasbert Drakes during a training session on Saturday. (Photo courtesy CWI Media)
A source of major concern for West Indies will be the way their batting has crumbled in the series. In the opening game against reigning champions Australia Women, they were 123 for two batting first before collapsing to 204 all out.
And against India Women last Thursday, the Windies appeared in good shape at 69 for one but were held to 183 for eight.
Their batting was also exposed in the official warm-up game against South Africa in Oakham nine days ago when they were bundled out for an embarrassing 63.
Teenaged opener Hayley Matthews has been the best batsman with scores of 46 and 43 but no Windies batsman has managed to pass 50.
However, Taylor said her side were focussing on pulling all facets of their game together and executing on game day.
“We don’t want to think too much about the end result, that will take care of itself. We know how these pitches play, we’ve played here before,” the Jamaican continued.
“All the pitches will play exactly the same because they are good pitches so if we bat first we have to get runs on the board and bowling first we have to bowl them out for a decent target to chase it down.”
Their best showing on tour to date came at the Grace Road venue even though they went down to Pakistan Women by five wickets, 11 days ago.
In that encounter, they managed to get up to 246 with consistent batting and then pushed the Pakistanis who only got home with 14 balls remaining.
Taylor said it was important to repeat all the positive things from that game if they were to seriously challenge the Proteas.
“We looked in pretty good nick so we could definitely look at the footage and see … the good things that we did so we can come out tomorrow and replicate that and put on a good performance,” she stressed.
“They’re a good team so we expect a good game. All the teams are not going to roll over and say ‘take it’ so we know we have to play hard cricket.”
West Indies are sixth in the standings without a point while Australia are top with four points, with India second also on four points but with an inferior net run rate.
WEST INDIES – Stafanie Taylor (captain), Merissa Aguilleira, Reniece Boyce, Shamilia Connell, Shanel Daley, Deandra Dottin, Afy Fletcher, Qiana Joseph, Kyshona Knight, Hayley Matthews, Anisa Mohammed, Chedean Nation, Akeira Peters, Shakera Selman, Felicia Walters.
SOUTH AFRICA – Dane van Niekerk (captain), Trisha Chetty, Moseline Daniels, Nadine de Klerk, Mignon du Preez, Shabnim Ismail, Marizanne Kapp, Ayabonga Khaka, Masabata Klaas, Lizelle Lee, Sune Luus, Raisibe Ntozakhe, Andrie Steyn, Chloe Tryon and Laura Wolvaardt.