West Indies is coming off a superb win, and another win against Sri Lanka will help it put a foot in the semi-finals
West Indies, fresh from a crushing win over New Zealand in its opening game, next faces off against Sri Lanka in a Group B encouter at the ICC Women's World Twenty20 in Galle on Friday (September 28).
The nature of the win was such that it even prompted Sherwin Campbell, the coach, to say that it was one of the best he had witnessed from the team. "This is best I have seen us play since we knocked England out at the World T20 in 2010," said Campbell. "We bowled well, we took our catches, the ground fielding was good and we backed it up with sensible batting. We wanted to make a statement from the very start of the tournament and the girls came out and did the business."
Deandra Dottin, who has the potential to dominate attacks the world over according to Merissa Aguilleira, her captain, was at the forefront of West Indies’ victory in the first match. Dottin, 21, was the first woman to score a century in a Twenty20 International, when she smashed her way to 112 against South Africa in the ICC World Twenty20 2010 in St Kitts. She proved her worth once again by helping West Indies chase 118 against a good New Zealand attack on Wednesday, with an unbeaten 58.
The knock drew immense praise from Aguilleira. "I think she is the Chris Gayle of our team," said a smiling Aguilleira. "She proved why she is one of the best, and I believe she is our trump card."
Apart from Dottin, West Indies will also bank on Stafanie Taylor, who got the team off to a good start by making a solid 35 in the tournament opener.
West Indies appears focussed and intense, but at the same time the team seems to be enjoying playing on the world stage. The manner in which the bowlers fought back after New Zealand got off to an explosive start only further vindicates its hunger and drive to perform. A win in its second game may help it put one foot in the door to the semi-final.
Sri Lanka, on the other hand, has plenty to grapple with. An insipid batting display against South Africa forced Shashikala Siriwardena, the captain, to suggest there could be a few team changes. The margin of defeat to South Africa was such that it will also have to not just win but win handsomely, so that its Net Run Rate doesn’t suffer too much.
"We have to just forget about what happened against South Africa," said Siriwardena. "The batting will have to come good. We are a far better side than we showed in the first game, a win will get us back on track."
Siriwardena and Chamari Atapattu, the team's most prominent batters, will have to shoulder most of the responsibility for any chance of winning. On current form, there is no doubt that West Indies is the better side, but a wounded Sri Lanka could spark the tournament if it manages to upset the Caribbean applecart.