PREVIEW: Confident WI open WC campaign
MUMBAI, India – West Indies will begin their quest for glory at the ICC Women’s World Cup when they face hosts India in the tournament curtain raiser here Thursday.
The Caribbean side have had a rough build-up since arriving here. They lost their only official warm-up to Australia by 135 runs on Monday and then pulled out of their second game against a local Mumbai XI because of several injuries within the team.
However, the Windies will be aiming to overcome these setbacks in order to make a positive start in the day/night affair at Brabourne Stadium, starting at 2:30 pm (5 am, Eastern Caribbean time)
At the last tournament in Australia four years ago, West Indies could only finish fifth but former vice-captain and experienced off-spinner Anisa Mohammed said she believed the side could play well enough this time around to win the January 31 to February 17 championship.
“We’re a far more experienced team this time around,” said Mohammed.
“We have beaten all the teams participating here, except Australia. I know we can win this World Cup. This is the first World Cup where I'm getting that feeling that we could go all the way.”
She continued: “We have a lot of experienced batters. And to be honest, most of the members of our team can bowl. Most of us are all-rounders. I have a lot of responsibility. But a lot of the other bowlers too are stepping up of late.”
West Indies have been installed in a tough Group A, that includes defending champions England, powerful India and Sri Lanka, while Group B comprises reigning Twenty20 World champions Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan and South Africa.
The three top teams from each group will qualify for the Super Sixes, with the two top teams after this round advancing to the final.
Mohammed said though India would maybe start as favourites, the Windies were confident of pulling off a victory.
“India are playing at home. They have home advantage,” she pointed out. “We have beaten them in the past here. We are just going to come out and play at our best.”
West Indies will try to compensate for their failed campaign in the last October’s Twenty20 World Cup when they did well to reach the semi-finals before stumbling to defeat at the hands of Australia.
If they are to reap success, however, much will depend on the efforts of opener Stafanie Taylor, Deandra Dottin and captain Merissa Aguilleira. The prolific Taylor is ranked number two in the ICC batting rankings while Dottin lies 12th and Aguilleira, 14th.
Mohammed, meanwhile, ranked sixth in the ICC bowlers rankings, will lead the Windies attack with pitches expecting to favour her steady right-arm stuff. She will be supported by Taylor’s off-breaks and the left-arm spin of Shanel Daley.
At only age 24 but already in her third World Cup, Mohammed said she was ready to accept the burden of the bowling attack.
“This is my 11th year at this level. I’m no longer the baby of the side. In fact I’m part of the very senior bunch now,” she stressed.
INDIA – Mithali Raj (captain), Harmanpreet Kaur (vice-captain), Ekta Bisht, Amita Dass, Jhulan Goswami, Karuna Jain, Reema Malhotra, Mona Meshram, Thirushkamini Murugesan, Sulakshana Naik, Niranjan Nagarajan, Rasnara Parwin, Poonam Raut, Shubh Lakshmi Sharma, Gouher Sultana.
WEST INDIES – Merissa Aguilleira (captain), Stafanie Taylor (vice-captain), Shemaine Campbelle, Shanel Daley, Deandra Dottin, Kycia Knight, Kyshona Knight, Natasha Mclean, Anisa Mohammed, Subrina Munroe, Juliana Nero, June Ogle, Shaquana Quintyne, Shakera Selman, Tremayne Smartt.