The runners-up of the previous edition of the 50-over World Cup in 2013 and the champions of the 2016 World T20, Windies Women’s team will enter the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 as a force to reckon with. One among the top four that earned a direct qualification for the main event in UK in June-July 2017, Windies will bank on their traditionally flamboyant style of play to get the job done.
With a good mix of youth and experience – be it teenagers or seasoned veterans – Windies aren’t left behind when it comes to team balance and are capable of taking the tournament by storm like they did a year back in India, albeit in a condensed format of cricket. That said, Windies cannot be classified as a world-class team when it comes to 50-over cricket, much like the male counterparts. Style and substance are aplenty but application and discipline are key components and how they work on that would determine their progress in the tournament.
How they made it to WWC17?Matches: 21| Won: 11 | Lost: 10 | Points: 22
Windies blew hot and cold during the the ICC Women’s Championship that ran from 2014 to 2016. After a series sweep against New Zealand, Windies lost to Australia with a similar scoreline. But series wins against Sri Lanka followed by Pakistan and South Africa, put them on the right track for qualification.
However, they suffered a reversal against England, losing the Championship round 2-1 and had to pray for other results to go their way. Had India not forfeited the three-match series against Pakistan, a direct qualification for Windies would have been in jeopardy. However, luck played a part and they managed to prevail despite losing 0-3 to India in their final Championship round.
What’s in news?A 16-year-old uncapped pacer – Qiana Joseph – is part of the 15-member squad that has three other new-comers in 19-year-old wicketkeeper-bat Reniece Boyce, 23-year-old allrounder Akeira Peters and 25-year-old bat Felicia Walters. Returning to the squad after close to a three-year break is allrounder Shanel Daley, who has overcome her injury issues to provide a solid presence in the team. Having recovered well from a cheek-bone fracture that she sustained during the WBBL, Deandra Dottin will also be raring to go and Windies will be eager that the first woman centurion in T20Is makes her presence felt in the 50-over games.
Squad break-up:Batters: Felicia Walters
All-rounders: Stafanie Taylor (c), Deandra Dottin, Hayley Matthews, Shanela Daley, Chedean Nation, Akeira Peters
Wicketkeeper(s): Merissa Aguilleira, Reniece Boyce
Quicks: Kyshona Knight, Shamilia Connell, Shakera Selman, Quiana Joseph
Spinners: Anisa Mohammed, Afy Fletcher
Ones to watch:Stafanie Taylor: Apart from being the skipper of the Windies team, the Jamaican is also a crucial cog in their batting and bowling departments. The No. 1 ranked allrounder in ODIs and T20Is also occupies the fifth spot in the rankings for batters and is placed second in the bowlers’ list. The highest run-getter for Windies in ODIs and their second highest wicket-taker, the all-round value that she brings would prove immense for their campaign.
Hayley Matthews: She was still 17 when she started the Women’s World T20 in 2016 and had just about reached the legal Barbados voting age of 18 when she featured in the final of the tournament. Undaunted by the stage, she blazed away to a 45-ball 66 and the rest, as they say, is history. Now, she will be attempting to create a legacy of her own when she sets foot in England as a 19-year-old who’s yet to feature in a ODI World Cup for her team.
Numbers that matter:-The last time Windies won an ODI in England against any of the participating teams from this year’s World Cup was way back in 1979.
-Deandra Dottin and Stafanie Taylor are two matches away from completing 100 ODIs while Merissa Aguilleira’s played 96. Anisa Mohammed is the only West Indies player to reach the 100-ODI landmark before.
-Windies have a win-loss record of 18-20 since the last Word Cup, only ahead of Pakistan and Sri Lanka among the eight participating teams.
Where they finished in last edition?Windies’ had their best run in the 50-over World Cup in the last edition in India when they finished runners-up after a heavy loss to Australia in the final.
What’s their best finish?2013 – runners-up to Australia. In five other World Cups, they finished sixth in 1993, suffered an exit after the first round in 1997 and had to be satisfied with the fifth spot in both 2005 and 2009.
Form guideLast five ODIs: W-L-L-L-LWindies’ ODI form remains patchy. They lost the five-match home series against England 2-3 (1-2 in the Championship round six) before being blanked 3-0 by hosts India in Vijaywada late last year. They haven’t played any ODI cricket since then but they did, however, swept the subsequent three-match T20I series against India.
Expected finish: First-round exit
For all the free-spiritedness that comes with their game, do Windies have the consistency to go with it and make it to the knock-outs? Maybe not. But Windies are known to pull off surprises every now and then and would be itching to go one step further after faltering at the final step in 2013.
Fixtures:vs Australia,June 26, Taunton, 9:30 AM GMT
vs India,June 29, Taunton, 9:30 AM GMT
vs South Africa,July 2, Leicester, 9:30 AM GMT
vs New Zealand,July 6, Taunton, 9:30 AM GMT
vs Sri Lanka,July 9, Derby, 9:30 AM GMT
vs Pakistan,July 11, Leicester, 9:30 AM GMT
vs England, July 15, Bristol, 9:30 AM GMT