West Indies Can Take This

Most experts don’t have the West Indies making their way to the semi-finals. I disagree. Having watched the highs and lows of this team over the last twelve months the Windies are definitely on the up and with the explosive power on offer, the West Indies can take this.

This will be the seventh appearance at the World Cup for the West Indies, after their debut in 1993. Their best performance is 2nd place to Australia in India in 2013 when they lost the final at Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai. Can they go one better here?

Squad

Stafanie Taylor (c), Anisa Mohammed (vc), Aaliyah Alleyne, Shemaine Campbelle, Shamilia Connell, Deandra Dottin, Afy Fletcher, Cherry-Ann Fraser, Chinelle Henry, Kycia Knight, Hayley Matthews, Chedean Nation, Karishma Ramharack, Shakera Selman, Rashada Williams.

Kaysia Schultz, Mandy Mangru and Jannillea Glasgow named as reserves.

Runs

I think they need to play their roles (ie opener bat at least 10 overs see the shine off the new ball) occupy the crease, bat overs, be patient, as West Indians game is boundary/power hitting and believe in their individual talent – Stacy-Ann King

If the big three fire, this West Indies team is unstoppable. Taylor, Dottin, Matthews are the key. Yes, others will contribute but the bulk of the runs must come from these three. They come with strong credentials.

The return of captain Stafanie Taylor adds much needed starch this batting order. Her absence in the first half of 2021 was telling. There may still be a question mark over that troubling hamstring. Hopefully not, for on her day she can murder an attack as she did recently in Pakistan with 102 not out in Karachi.

Deandra Dottin is in the form of her life. Two centuries in recent times, 132 against Pakistan in Karachi, a career best then overtaken by 150 not out against South Africa at Johannesburg in January. There’s a greater patience about this player now, able to take her time to build an innings before unleashing her trademark explosive shots.

Hayley Matthews turned a corner in 2021 and there’s a new maturity evolving with her game. She seems calmer at the crease whether with bat or ball. She always had confidence but it comes with a newfound vibe and possibly the realisation that she is now a senior player. Batting Matthews at five as opposed to opening has been a smart move and she has been consistent in that position since moving there.

Beyond those three stars the vision is a little murky.

Too often they depend on Dottin, Taylor, Matthew’s –  yes they are the main actors but the co actors are also important on the big stage. They need to see it as an opportunity if those big names fail and grasp the opportunity to make a name for themselves and the team by extension – Stacy-Ann King

One issue over the last twelve months has been finding a suitable opening partner for Dottin. Of late that has been Rashada Williams but she hasn’t been firing. They’ve also tried the left-handed Kycia Knight who has also batted at three quite often – both these players are also wicket-keepers coincidentally – doesn’t make a difference with the batting but may explain their inclusion in the squad as backup for Shemaine Campbelle.

If these two can fire then West Indies batting concerns are done, because you have Dottin, Williams, Knight, Taylor, Matthews, Campbelle – and you can follow this with bowlers who have good batting potential such as Chinelle Henry and Aaliyah Alleyne. Keep an eye on fast bowler Cherry-Ann Fraser who may just sneak into the eleven. She’s quick.

Wickets

Spin bowling options are locked in with West Indies leading ODI wicket taker, off-break bowler Anisa Mohammed. Anisa is six wickets shy of becoming second best of all time after Australia’s Cathryn Fitzpatrick. In short, a wicket taker and the team’s vice captain.

So reliable has Hayley Matthews become that despite holding her place as a batter, she is a true allrounder in that she could hold her place as an off-break bowler as well. with these two players it is hard to see Karishma Ramharack, also an off-break bowler, getting a game, especially given that Stafanie Taylor also does the same. Stacked with offies!

The right-arm fast medium of Shakera Selman is so reliable she’s an autopick, third on the all-time wickets list for Windies in ODIs. Likely she will be partnered by Shamilia Connell who has improved greatly over the last 12 months. The bustling quick a little faster than Selman but can be expensive as well.

To bolster the batting Chinelle Henry is likely to get the nod as will Aaliyah Alleyne as both are handy with the bat, the former being right-arm medium-fast and the latter right-arm medium pace.

Backing up these bowlers one of the most experienced wicket keepers in the business, Shemaine Campbelle (who is also an accomplished bowler). Energetic and vocal, she encourages the team from behind the stumps this arrays out into the field. Watch Deandra Dottin at point. She is lethal there – do not run on her arm, the former javelin thrower from Barbados is deadly accurate.

Best XI

Deandra Dottin, Rashada Williams, Kycia Knight, Stafanie Taylor, Hayley Matthews, Shemaine Campbelle (wk), Chinelle Henry, Aaliyah Alleyne, Anisa Mohammed, Shakera Selman, Shamilia Connell

Semi Finals?

It will depend on how the West Indies start their campaign and they are up front and centre stage in the first match when they take on hosts New Zealand. If they can chalk up a win there then momentum should carry them further. They have the talent to make the semi-finals and then who knows? Perhaps West Indies can take this.

Have fun most importantly. When they’re having fun in the field there is energy, there is momentum and things go their way. It’s a Caribbean thing. – Stacy-Ann King

Photo: courtesy PCB

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