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Women ready

Deandra Dottin getting in some practice in the nets before tomorrow’s opening match.

GALLE – West Indies Women will start their bid to win the ICC Women’s World T20 tournament when they face New Zealand tomorrow in Group B at the Galle International Cricket Stadium.

The Windies girls reached the semi-finals two years ago when the tournament was played in the Caribbean, and will be looking to go all the way this time. First ball on Wednesday is 1:30 pm (4 a.m. Eastern Caribbean Time/3 a.m. Jamaica Time).

Under the guidance of head coach Sherwin Campbell and the astute leadership of captain Merissa Aguilleira, the Windies have been well prepared and are focused on what is required against the New Zealanders, who were losing finalists to Australia in Barbados two years ago.

“We are well prepared… very well prepared. We have been together as a team for a while now and the girls looked very athletic, enthusiastic and high on confidence in the build-up. In this team we have some naturally talented athletes and I expect us to do well in all three departments – with the bat, with the ball and in the field,” Campbell said.

“The last time we played in the World T20 back home we reached the semi-finals but we failed to reach the final. We have the core of players who formed the team back then, so we are two years more experienced this time around and I believe we have it in us to go all the way this time. That would be a rich reward for the hard work they have put in,” added the former West Indies vice-captain.

West Indies have in their line-up all-rounder Stafanie Taylor, who opens the batting and can also open the bowling with her off-spin. The 21-year-old is the leading all-rounder in the game at present and is ranked in the Top 5 batters and all-rounders in the ICC Women’s T20 tables. She was ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year last year and earlier this month won the award for ICC Women’s ODI Player of the Year.

The Windies also have Deandra Dottin, the most explosive female cricketer in history. She has the record for the fastest half-century and century in ICC Women’s World T20. Back in 2009 she made a blistering 50 from just 22 balls against Australia at Taunton. Two years ago she became the first woman to reach 100 in a T20 – off just 38 balls – against South Africa in St Kitts. In that innings she hit a world-record nine sixes and added a tournament-record 118 for the fifth wicket with Shanel Daley.

The bowling is led by Anisa Mohammed, the experienced off-spinner, who is the leading wicket-taker in Women’s T20 history with 62 wickets in 43 matches at an average of just 12.04 runs per wicket.

This experienced trio along with left-handed all-rounders Shanel Daley and Stacy-Ann King; teenaged leg-spinner Shaquana Quintyne; pacer Shakera Selman; and Aguilleira, with both bat and gloves, are the ones who form the strength in the squad.

Speaking at today’s media launch, Aguilleira said the recent tour of England was a bit disappointing but they aim to get it right in the warmer climatic conditions in Galle.

“I must say inconsistency got the better of us in England, and I’m happy it happened before we got here to Sri Lanka. It was an eye opener,” she outlined.

“We have a lot of talent in the batting, but having said that we haven’t really put enough runs on the board to give ourselves an opportunity to win. It is important to set a solid foundation.”

Squad: Merissa Aguilleira (captain/wicket-keeper), Stafanie Taylor (vice captain), Shemaine Campbell, Britney Cooper, Shanel Daley, Deandra Dottin, Stacy-Ann King, Kycia Knight (wicket-keeper), Anisa Mohammed, Subrina Munroe, Juliana Nero, Shaquana Quintyne, Shakera Selman, Tremayne Smartt

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