Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Women believe they can


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by EZRA STUARTin St LuciaTHE BRIDESMAIDS  of West Indies cricket  will come to the forefront at the Beausejour  Cricket Ground today.Following the inglorious exit of Chris Gayle and his men, the West Indies women now seek to restore Caribbean cricket pride when they face New Zealand in the second semi-final of the Women’s World Twenty20 Championship.The Sherwin Campbell-coached side have been like “outside women”, but with the men receiving their divorce papers on Tuesday night, it is now their turn to begin a marriage with  regional fans.After defying the odds to reach the semi-finals with victory over South Africa and England in the preliminaries in St Kitts, more history beckons  for the West Indian women cricketers as they hunt a first global final appearance.It will be the first time for the Windies women playing in a day-night match, as the semi-final bowls off at 4 p.m., following the second men’s semi-final between Australia and Pakistan.But Campbell, a former Test cricketer, said the girls won’t let this stop them from achieving their goal of capturing the title.“I am very confident. The players have that self-belief. It is just to go out there now and execute what we have done over the last couple of weeks and put it into the game plan, and hopefully, we will come out on top once we execute those skills well,” Campbell asserted.Having played all three of their preliminaries in St Kitts, where they also had a pre-tournament camp and warm-up matches, Campbell said he did not expect any different conditions in St Lucia.“I think all the pitches in the Caribbean are quite the same – good for batting, and may help the spinners a bit – but I don’t think it [conditions] will be difficult,” he observed.Despite defeating the White Ferns in the pre-tournament tune-up matches, Campbell said the Windies women won’t be complacent.New Zealand narrowly defeated India by ten runs; thrashed Sri Lanka by 47 runs, and humbled Pakistan by six wickets  to top Group B.“New Zealand [have] a fairly good side. They have powerful players just like us. The players hit the ball pretty hard, they’ve got strong arms.“They have a very decent bowling attack, they can bowl very aggressive at times and they are a good fielding side, so New Zealand  is a really very tough side,” he said.Campbell also has some advice for history-making 18-year-old Barbadian  all-rounder Deandra Dottin, who was brought back down to earth with golden “ducks” after scoring the first T20 International century by  a woman and fastest ever off a mere 38 balls, against South Africa.“Just like any attacking player, she had a special innings and scored a hundred; that was her day. She just needs to refocus again now and look at how she got those runs,” Campbell said.“She must learn that she has to start from scratch now and build a innings again and get the good result that she wants,” he suggested.Campbell added that even though a few players were carrying niggling injuries, they were prepared to play through  a little pain.


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