Captain of the West Indies women’s team Merissa Aguilleira is preaching the “power of the team” as her players prepare for the all-important ICC World T20 semi-final against New Zealand at Beausejour Stadium in St Lucia on Friday. First ball is 4 pm.
The 24-year-old wicket-keeper, who has been at the helm for close to two years, said the mood in the camp was up-beat as the girls are eagerly looking forward to the match. This is the first time the West Indies women have reached the final four in a major ICC tournament. The previous best showing was fifth place at the ICC World Cup in Australia last March and fifth spot at the ICC World T20 Tournament in England last June.
The other semi-final will be between Australia and India on Thursday under lights. In an initiative designed to promote women’s cricket, the semi-finals and final of the women’s section run as double-headers with the men’s equivalent with the matches being televised live to the global audience in around 180 territories through ESPN STAR Sports.
Aguilleira said: “We are ready. We have been preparing very well for this moment and we believe we will win and move on to Sunday’s final in Barbados. We have been training together … we play together as a team. We are very strong as a team. To win, we know it will be a tough game, but we have the belief in our ability as individuals, and we have belief in each other. We need to improve on picking up singles when we bat. We have not been picking up as many singles as we should and in T20 cricket matches are usually decided by small margins.
“We need to be attacking as well because the New Zealand girls are aggressive players. They are hard hitters and they will come at us hard so we will be prepared to stick to what we know and play what we know.”
In the preliminary round of the tournament, which was played in St Kitts, the Windies finished second behind Australia in Group A. They arrived in St Lucia on Tuesday afternoon and had two training sessions on Wednesday – fielding drills at Beausejour and nets at Mindoo Phillip Park. They will have another full training session on Thursday at Gros Islet Playing Field.
“A lot of thought has gone into what we are doing. We arrived in St Kitts three weeks before the tournament started and we have planned every day of this journey. We put all the plans in place and we went out and performed in the first round. It is now up to us to continue on this journey and look to take it all the way,” Aguilleira added. “Now that the men’s team has gone out of the tournament we know we have to come out and represent the people of the West Indies in a big way. It’s a great challenge and a great opportunity.”
Squad: Merissa Aguilleira (Captain/wicket-keeper), Anisa Mohammed (Vice Captain), Kirbyina Alexander, Shemaine Campbelle (wicket-keeper), Britney Cooper, Shanel Daley, Deandra Dottin, Cordel Jack, Stacy-Ann King, Pamela Lavine, Juliana Nero, Shakera Selman, Tremayne Smartt, Stafanie Taylor
Team management: Pat Greenidge (Manager), Sherwin Campbell (Coach), Stephanie Power (assistant coach), Jacqui King-Mowatt (phyiso), Shannon Lashley (strength and conditioning co-ordinator).