WEST INDIES begin their International Cricket Council (ICC) Women’s Cricket World Cup qualifying campaign against Ireland at the Old Hararians Ground in Harare, Zimbabwe on Tuesday.
Captain Stafanie Taylor is confident the team has what it takes to kick off their qualifying campaign on a winning note and believes the recent 3-0 One-Day International series sweep against Pakistan has upped the ante.
“I think the morale is pretty good especially seeing batters getting runs. I think that’s something that we’ve been working on, batters scoring runs and helping the team.
“We’ve been relying on the bowling department for quite some time now so it’s really nice that the batters have been scoring those runs,” she said during Monday’s pre-match press conference.
The game bowls off from 3.30am TT time and is the first of three qualifying matches to be played before the second group stage. On Saturday, West Indies play Sri Lanka and then Netherlands on Monday.
If they progress to the second stage, West Indies will do battle against the other top performing nations for one of three automatic World Cup qualifier spots.
The ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup bowls off in New Zealand from March 4 to April 3 next year.
The Jamaican skipper said they will not be taking any of their opponents lightly.
“That’s the one thing you don’t want to do. Everyone’s here to win the competition and some of the teams we haven’t played in such a long time. Zimbabwe is not in our zone but we’re not here to take any team for granted. We’re here to play hard cricket and come out on top,” she said.
Taylor remains optimistic the team would carry their winning momentum from the Pakistan series into the qualifiers.
“We had a good series against Pakistan so that’s what I would like to see, not just tomorrow but throughout the competition.
“We’ve been playing some good cricket and we’ve been getting some really good scores from our top players. Even to the lesser batting line up, just to continue from where we left off in Pakistan,” she added.
The 30-year-old confirmed the team was in good spirits but said there were still some areas they plan to improve on heading into Tuesday’s opener.
Running smartly between the wickets and picking up quick singles remain top priority for the batters while the bowlers have been working on reducing the number of wide balls bowled.
According to Cricket West Indies, there have been four centuries in a calendar year from the top three batters on the team – a first for West Indies women in ODI cricket.
Taylor scored two while Deandra Dottin and Hayley Matthews each scored one. The team also sees the return of wicketkeeper/batter Shemaine Campbelle, who was very reliable with the bat and the glove on the recent trip to Pakistan.
Acclimatising in Zimbabwe has been a bit of a challenge but Taylor remains upbeat on the team’s chances of progressing.
She closed, “We’ve been here a week or so, not really having much game time here. We haven’t had any middle practice whatsoever; we’ve only been in the nets.
“When we played our only practice game, the pitch was a bit slow. I guess in the Caribbean some pitches in Guyana are a bit slow.
“I find if we play at the stadium (Harare) it may be a lot better. We hope that the pitch is similar to what we’re used to.”
Stafanie Taylor (captain), Anisa Mohammed (vice-captain), Aaliyah Alleyne, Shemaine Campbelle, Shamilia Connell, Deandra Dottin, Sheneta Grimmond, Chinelle Henry, Qiana Joseph, Kycia Knight, Kyshona Knight, Hayley Matthews, Chedean Nation, Shakera Selman, Rashada Williams
Cherry Ann Fraser, Shabika Gajnabi, Karishma Ramharack