By Wisden India Staff in Colombo
West Indies Women's captain says she wants to do well not just for the team but for the fans who have been supporting the players
Merissa Aguilleira, the West Indies captain, believes her team has what it takes to beat Australia and reach the final. “The communication lines have been that we really need to go through into to the semi-finals and to the final," she said. "Because I think we are not making just ourselves proud but the people of the Caribbean and even our fans who have been supporting us here. I guess it is something that we are really looking forward to and we are really looking to put our best foot forward."
Aguilleira believes the match will give the West Indies team an indication of where it stands against some of the better teams. "In order to be the best, you have to win against the best,” said Aguilleira. “We know that Australia is the defending champion, so we know we have to go hard.”
"Yes we had a warm-up session against them. But at the end of the day, we just know we have to stay focused on what we want to do. So I guess we just have to go out there and play some hard cricket," added Aguilleira.
Apart from the game against Sri Lanka where the team couldn't chase down 48 off 8 overs in a rain-curtailed game, West Indies has been clinical in the other two matches. Its win in the opening game against New Zealand was termed an upset. "When we came into this tournament, I think a lot of people were expecting that New Zealand would have been on top of us,” said Aguilleira. “But I guess we proved them wrong even though that we had disappointed against Sri Lanka. So I think losing is not an option. It is how you get up from it. We got up pretty well from it. So I guess all we need to do is carry the momentum into the semi-finals and hopefully through to the final as well.”
While the group matches were played in Galle, the stage shifts to the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo for the last bit of the tournament. More than the conditions, which are expected to be similar, it will be the bigger crowds that will make the semi-finals a spectacle, given the women's clash precedes the men's match.
"I think the girls are pretty much looking forward to playing in front of all these huge crowds," said Aguilleira. "We will really be looking forward to going out there and showing out what we can do to our fans.”
"We are fully confident of going through all the way. We came here to play five matches. We have lost one. We cannot afford to be complacent. So I guess we are just looking forward to move into the final and pushing forward from there," she said.
West Indies fans have a lot to look forward to as the women's match will be followed by the men's semi-final, also against Australia. After qualifying for the Super Eights on net run-rate, the Darren Sammy-led team picked up its pieces to enter the semi-final with two wins in three super-eights matches.
"I know that the guys had some hiccups. They are definitely on the verge of showing the people what they can do. Once they continue doing what they are doing and train as a unit. I think they will be unstoppable," felt Aguilleira.