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WWT20: Battle of Fittest - Hosts West Indies Have Task Cut Out in Semifinal Against Australia

Cricketnext Staff |November 22, 2018, 11:47 AM IST
WWT20: Battle of Fittest - Hosts West Indies Have Task Cut Out in Semifinal Against Australia

When the inaugural standalone edition of the ICC Women’s World T20 kicked off in the Caribbean, the Australians were considered strong favourites. The Meg Lanning-led side may have lost to India but the well-knit unit are aware of their roles and have been the best personnel assigned to carry them out.

Their opponents in the first semi-final at Antigua will be the hosts and defending champions West Indies, who pulled off a major upset the last time. While they aren’t or have not shown the explosive form one would have expected, it will not be a surprise if they progress to the summit clash as they have always found that extra bit of inspiration to take them over the line.

The fact that the West Indies are playing at home has played a major part in their success this time around as the crowds have rallied around them and treated every win like a title winning one. That of course does not discount the team bonding and preparation that goes in before the final show.

The hosts will be under tremendous pressure against the Aussies and to help them prepare, local legends Sir Viv Richards and Sir Andy Roberts gave them a pep-talk on Tuesday.

“It was really nice to hear some encouraging words. At this stage, there's a lot of nerves flying around, and it's good to hear encouraging words to kind of settle that down,” said Stefanie Taylor, the Windies captain.

In the other corner, Australia are concentrating more on staying calm and keeping focus against not only a team with “plenty of X-factors” but also the crowd. Hopefully a trip around the beaches of Antigua will do the job for them.

“Coming up against the West Indies, we know they're a very dangerous team, and [it’s] always very difficult to win semi-finals. It's a new game tomorrow,” said skipper Lanning.

“We're really excited about the opportunity that we've got to play in a semi-final in front of a really big crowd. It looks like it's going to be. So the atmosphere is going to be amazing, and we were speaking earlier today about just really embracing that opportunity.”

Going by what happened in the group stages, one can safely say that it is a clash between the two fittest sides.

Ahead of the game, the Windies were simulating pressure situations to fine tune their skills during a practice session – the holders are leaving no stone unturned.

“Fielding is definitely going to play a really big role,” said Lanning. “When we looked at the ground yesterday, it looked quite bit, so yeah, especially our outfielders are going to have to be on their game. We feel like that's an area of strength of ours, our ability to move in the field and create chances.

“We know that the West Indies are very good in that area, as well, so it's going to be a good battle … We're looking forward to that challenge.”

Squads

Windies: Stafanie Taylor (c), Merissa Aguilleira, Shemaine Campbelle, Shamilia Connell, Britney Cooper, Deandra Dottin, Afy Fletcher, Sheneta Grimmond, Chinelle Henry, Kycia Knight, Hayley Matthews, Natasha Mclean, Anisa Mohammed, Chedean Nation, Shakera Selman

Australia: Meg Lanning (c), Nicole Bolton, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Rachael Haynes, Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Alyssa Starc, Elyse Villani, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham

((With Inputs from ICC))

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