“Every time we go out there, we want to play fearless,” shared Stafanie Taylor ahead of the World T20 2020. But in the first game itself, a sight most may not have imagined from the Windies Women in T20 World cup 2020 would’ve befooled the fan: West Indies huffing and puffing on their way complete what should’ve been an easy run-chase.
Just when most would’ve thought that the sun was shining on Tippoch’s Thailand Women, Stafanie Taylor blanketed the waning fortunes of a side- as only a genuine protector could have- by holding her ground.
Make no mistake, for she wasn’t alone.
With Shemaine Campbelle at the other end, unbeaten on 25, in a typically low-scoring cliffhanger, the Windies women in the T20 World Cup 2020 essayed what’s been a dominant theme in this edition of T20 World Cup.
Quick wickets falling at the back of a low-scoring contest with the triumph belonging to the one who braves a nervy chase.
So when Windies women discarded the quintessential Calypso whacks and thuds, opting to convert the 1s into 2s against the Thai, they epitomized the mantra one often underestimates; that T20Is are also about being watchful and not only about forwarding ostentatious and attacking styles.
That, in essence, highlights the West Indies Women in T20 World history- dogged, determined and ferocious.
They’ve been champions in 2016 and are one among the only 3 teams ever to have clinched the coveted title since a decade of its inception. That they’ve been constant semi-finalists- 2010, 2012, 2014, and the last edition, in 2018, where they all but scaled the peak, running into England whom they were hosting during the last edition- explains that mediocrity isn’t really a term in the Windies’ dictionary in T20I cricket.
New glories, and hopefully another dominant showing beckons the Windies Women in T20 World Cup 2020 as they prepare to take on Pakistan, South Africa, and England, three teams that they’ll stare directly in the eye with the panache of a vulture out to get its prey.
And while upsets are such an incessant part of this game, it’s unlikely if Windies will allow themselves to be cast aside.
Well, not without a fight in the least. Think what happened to Bangladesh during WT20 2018, that were bundled out for 46, with the Windies asking them only 107 for victory?
Consider for a second their record against the Proteas Women, whom they’ve beaten with unsparing consistency in World T20 contests.
The first that the West Indies met the Rainbow nation in a World T20 was in 2009, a contest where a Windies win by a margin of 4 runs came largely thanks to Taylor making 50 off 52, and Anisa Mohammed taking her 2-for.
Next up, South Africa were beaten by 17 runs in World T20 2010. Then came another win for Windies Women in T20 World Cup 2012 and this time, at an even bigger margin, where the Proteas fire was sapped out of their ecosystem in front of a 10-wicket loss darted by the West Indian women.
It was Taylor again- 33 not out and 3 wickets.
So we know who’ll feel confident when the two sides meet come March 3 even as the Proteas fire is well and truly thriving, let’s not ignore the brilliant upset that shell-shocked England.
But it’s not that the Windies Women in the T20 World Cup have been any less hurting for England, whom they’ve whacked in the 2010 and 2014 editions, before going down finally in the 2016 edition, albeit during their whirlwind journey right to the top of the T20 annals of the game.
But that told, T20Is are also as much about flair and talent as they’re about unpredictability, of the kinds the Windies women can find themselves staring at if the batting doesn’t come good, which, let’s be fair is not really a stealth bomber.
Rather, it’s a highly visible talent of theirs that’s simply withered away good fortunes of the best of teams, whenever a Dottin or Taylor has hammered the ball or punched one off the backfoot on one occasion too many, with customary panache.
But the Windies would, knowing Australia’s dominance albeit the rustiness India have, over the past few weeks, successfully exposed, want to tread carefully. Further ahead in the tournament, beyond the Group stage would lie the mighty challenge of running into the White Ferns or should one say- Sophie Devine.
But that can wait for now.
The true power of West Indies Women in T20 World Cup 2020 will stem from their playing as a collective- where if Taylor doesn’t step up, Dottin does or when both fail then Matthews and a trio of Campbelle, Kirby, and Henry compile the runs on a day where they don’t fall like rains.
Similarly, Connell and Henry along with Selman and Dottin will have to find the soft spots if, in case, the legendary Anisa doesn’t.
What surely makes the West Indies Women in T20 world cup, once again, the team to beat?
What do you expect during peak monsoons? Tons of rains, eh? Hell, what can you expect when some of the most arresting batting talents feature on a side that sort of epitomizes the very format it’s partaking in and has been a world champion force in the not so distant past?
If you were to put a bullet onto a purists’ head- someone who’s seen the great heights of the invincible Windies team and then, the unfortunate spiral decline, and asked him if there’s something the menfolk could learn from the ladies then, most would unabashedly point to West Indies women’s sense of team spirit and sense o camaraderie; the very fact that they play as one close unit.
While that’s a quality that could be likened to someone like the Proteas unit, the big strength for West Indies women in T20 world Cup is, undoubtedly, their batting prowess.
And to gauge that, you don’t have to go that far but simply dive into a swirl of arresting statistics.
In Stafanie Taylor, Deandra Dottin, and Hayley Matthews- three of the most dangerous and consistent run-makers for the side- the team flourishes with over 6,000 T20 runs.
The trio- that thud opponents like a sharp trident on most days- boast of 6234 T20 runs from 260 T20s.
And, hang on.
There are also 35 T20s- 20 belonging to captain Stafanie alone- and 3 tons in there, with 2 belonging to Dottin alone.
But truly the magnificence of the West Indies women in T20 World Cup doesn’t end with Taylor’s quintessential run-scoring abilities, or Dottin’s ferocious power-hitting or for that matter, Matthews’ big striking.
All three of them are genuine wicket-taking exponents, with Dottin’s medium pace often playing the vital support system- as do Matthews’ off-breaks- to Taylor’s sheet-anchor role as the off-spinner.
Stafanie Taylor the sunshine of Windies Women in T20 World Cup
The giver of one of the most beaming smiles around, Taylor’s imposing T20I record already boasts of 101 T20I appearances. In a few hours from now, as she takes the field against Pakistan, Taylor will bat for the hundredth time in T20Is.
Moreover, this is a domineering record-holder; someone who has 6 fifties from World T2- contests- a world record, shared with Suzie Bates.
Cricket, as we know, is cherished, as a team-based sport. But it’s also a contest where the captain has to show the way and lead by an example.
So when Nation, Henry, Connell, Selman, Dottin, Campbelle have someone who’s second on the list of most runs ever scored in T20 World Cup history- Taylor with 797 (right at the start of this edition)- what more can one ask for?
Together, Taylor, who would be aware of this edition having yielded low-scoring games so far, would call on the likes of destructive forces like Matthews- who’se career-best 107 not out against Ireland came off just 62 deliveries and featured 9 brutal sixes- to deliver the runs from up top.
That said, let’s analyze some key players from West Indies Women in T20 World Cup 2020.
One among the many Windies women in T20 world cup 2020 that could surprise pleasantly through sheer versatility of her craft, the 24-year-old Jamaican can do a lot more than what she’s achieved in a growing career.
A bit under-utilized for being an all-rounder, Henry who featured in the contest against Thailand has played 24 matches, from which in 12 bowling innings, she’s gathered 7 wickets. While she’d love to bring down an expensive economy of 6.6 and work on her best figures of a 2-for in just the 20 innings she’s batted, it’s her watchfully collected 145 runs, that indicate the all-round potential of a talent who can bloom in the times ahead.
T20 World Cup representation: The 24-year old made her T20 debut in 2013, played during the WT20 2014, did not play in 2016, played in 2018.
If there’s someone among the Windies Women in T20 world cup 2020 that can extract key wickets and even produce much-needed runs, then it’s Campbelle, the thinking, and unassuming competitor.
Probably amongst the most under-sung contestants, Shemaine has long been a humble servant of the Windies women, possessing the keenness to get better with every game, despite having played no fewer than 100 T20Is.
It isn’t just the experience that the focused cricketer brings to a fiery line-up but lots of runs and the value edition especially to the youngsters who’re the key to the team’s balance.
For someone who’s struck an ODI hundred from number 7, thus far, the only women cricketer to have done so, Campbelle’s batted on 73 occasions in 100 T20s, from which she’s gathered 778 runs. Whilst strangely, she’s not yet reached a T20I fifty, the highest score of 45 suggests she can do a lot more than just hanging around.
T20 World Cup representation: a levelheaded competitor, Campebelle played in several World T20 editions, such as 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2018 editions.
The 27-year-old medium-pacer has, over the course of past half a decade, played 40 matches, from which she’s taken 23 wickets. Her economy is 6.2, with the best bowling figure of 3 for 29.
Aggressive and lively, jovial and focused, Connell oozes cricket. While the right-arm pacer will be entrusted with the task of carrying forward the Windies medium pace attack, she will have strong allies in two experienced and successful fast-medium exponents in Dottin and Selman.
T20 World Cup representation: the lanky medium pacer, who debuted in 2014 in T20Is, did not play in World T20 2014 edition but represented her side in 2016 and 2018 installations.
Perhaps someone of the value of Shikha Pandey to India, Selman is a thinking cricketer and a successful one at that.
The 30-year-old medium-pacer has played 76 matches, from which she’s taken 41 wickets, at a decent economy of 5.6, with best bowling figures of 3 for 23.
It’s not hard to understand the value of the uncomplicated and ever-dedicated Windies force once you simply glance through a career that has a wealth of experience.
T20 World Cup representation: Selman who debuted in 2008 has represented her team in all the editions played ever since including- 2009, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2018.
Even though, there’s not an awful lot that the otherwise experienced Nation has played for the ladies sporting maroon in the epitome of T20 contests, having only represented her country in 27 T20s, she’s still scored 271 runs and struck 2 vital half-centuries, including a career-best of 63 not out.
T20 World Cup representation: who debuted in 2008, did not play in 2010, did not play in 2012, did not play in 2014, did not play in 2016, but played in 2018.
The 32-year-old leg-spinner has got all the tricks up her sleeve, of which turn and flight aren’t the only key exponents; don’t discount the precious decade-long experience of competing.
The right-handed spinner has played 45 T20s, from which she’s grabbed 40 wickets, at a respectable economy of 5.6, including 1 four-for and 1 fifer- that explain her strong credentials. Who can forget her best bowling figures of 5 for 13?
T20 World Cup representation– who debuted in 2008, did not play in 2010, did not play in 2012, did not play in 2014, played in 2016, played in 2018
Fearless and expressive, powerful and experienced- if the Windies are to go to the deep end of this tournament then the 30-year-old Cooper will have to pull out some aces from her decorated repertoire. Remember she single-handedly pushed the Windies over the line against a daunting White Ferns line-up in the very year they became champions by producing a jewel of a T20 knock courtesy her 48-ball-61!
Thus far, from 66 T20s, the right-hander has amassed 567 runs, struck 1 fifty, with a highest of 61. Moreover, from her 58 batting innings, she’s remained unbeaten on 8 occasions.
T20 World Cup representation- who debuted in 2009, played in 2010, 2012, did not play in 2014, played in 2016, played in 2018
One word- Destructive!
Another adjective, especially when she’s on song is free-flowing.
The 21-year-old is probably not only the one who can lead Windies to big heights in the future but someone who’s demonstrated- from a very young age- attacking instincts that personify Caribbean cricket and, of course, the format where frequent sixes are very much the norm.
Just 2 games away from her 50th T20 international, the right-hander has collected 938 runs- including 4 fifties, 1 hundred, with the highest score of 107 not out, that came in 2019, just months ago.
The useful off-break bowler has taken 46 wickets from 48 matches at an economy of 5.7 with 2 four-for’s, with the best bowling of 4 for 10.
T20 World Cup representation– while she debuted in 2014, she’s played in 2016 and 2018 editions.
Cherry –Ann Fraser marks her debut in this edition.
A legend at 31.
Just how does it feel- one wonders- being Mohammed?
To see the game stepping into her shoes; which means the feet that have walked time and again toward conquering great feats, none more so than emerging as the leading wicket-taker in a format that’s often about white-ball bashing and big scoring ways.
There’s so much to admire about Windies’ ever-smiling legend. But for now, just derive awe from some mind-bending numbers:
109 T20s that have yielded 119 wickets, at an economy of just above 5.5, including 4 four-fors and 3 fifers, with best bowling figures of 5 for 10.
Can it get any better than that?
T20 World Cup representation: Mohammed has played in every single World T20 edition so far.
If there’s someone who boasts of the power and unmatched experience to take the West Indies women in T20 world cup 2020 right to the final, purely at the back of her illustrious hitting talent, then it’s Deandra Dottin- popularly hailed as the World Boss of the women’s game.
At the same time, make no mistake of undermining her talent with the white ball.
In the World T20 2018, it weren’t express pacers like Shabnim Ismail or Arundhetty Reddy or the dominant headliners like Kapp who emerged with most wickets; it was Dottin, one of Women’s game’s most respected and fierce talents of all time, who claimed 10 scalps, including a brilliant fifer against Bangladesh that broke their back during a tight run-chase that went Windies’ way in a low-scorer.
T20 World Cup representation: Dottin has been in every single World T20 edition held so far.
X-Factor for Windies Women in T20 World Cup 2020
For someone who was just a teenager when she ripped apart the Proteas Women during her record-breaking run-fest of 112 not out off just 45 balls, there’s little that bowlers can do when Dottin does everything; speaking only in boundaries and sixes as she did back in ICC Women’s World T20, 2010 when she clubbed 9 sixes as her team dismantled South Africa.
Funnily, the vanquished opponents collectively struck just 4 sixes on a day that saw the fastest-ever hundred in a Women’s T20I, one wherein the chief-wrecker came out to bat with her team tottering at 52 for 4.
Is there a weakling for West Indies women in T20 World Cup 2020?
33-year-old Chedean Nation, despite having debuted in 2008, has thus far only played 27 T20s for the Windies.
Not too different for 32-year-old Lee-Ann Kirby, who debuted way back in 2008 and has so far, played only 3 T20Is, having only recently ending her 12-year break. The last that she played in T20Is was in July 2008.
Together Kirby and Nation, along with two players who’ll be featuring in their maiden T20 World Cup campaign- 20-year-old uncapped player Cherry-Ann Fraser and 25-year-old Aaliyah Alleyne, who’s just 4 T20s old- form the only inexperienced chunk of an otherwise widely-experienced line-up.
What can be expected:
Considering the Windies women in T20 World Cup have been amongst the sides to beat- going by their usual lofty standards and the undeniable flair to achieve- it shouldn’t be that difficult for Taylor’s team to overcome any from Pakistan, South Africa, or England at the immediate outset.
Although, the journey won’t be any easy like plucking mangoes from a tree. South Africa’s confidence is at an all-time high, infectious even. England will be treading cautiously and would hate to commit familiar mistakes such as needless shuffles in batting orders. Then there’s the ever-unpredictable Pakistan-with Maroof and Javeria as two of the game’s finest batters.
Looks like West Indies Women in T20 World Cup 2020 could well find themselves walking an uphill climb before they set foot on the very obvious goal they would back themselves to attain: at least the semis stage!