By Shashank Kishore in Sylhet
Confident West Indies faces tournament favourite England, a team strong with bat and ball, in its Women's World T20 opener
It was an experience West Indies will be richer from, not just because it gave itself a shot at the title, but dethroned the more fancied Australia and New Zealand sides on its way to the summit clash.
History may hold little consequence, but ahead of the team's Women's World T20 opener against the Charlotte Edwards-led England at the Sylhet Divisional Stadium on Monday (March 24), it'll draw inspiration from each of those wins, for it'll have its task cut out right from the word go.
West Indies heads into the game on the back of two confidence-boosting wins in the warm-ups against Australia and South Africa, after a disastrous tour of New Zealand, where it was blanked 4-0 in the Twenty20 Internationals. The batting unit has brutal hitters in the form of Stafanie Taylor and Deandra Dottin, fresh off a blistering 78 off 48 balls against Australia in the warm-ups, but the others would hope to step up and ease the pressure off their main strikers.
The bowling attack is multi-dimensional. Shanel Daley and Tremayne Smartt, the new ball bowlers, aren't short of experience, while Anisa Mohammed and Shaquana Quintyne lend variety with their off-spin and leg-spin respectively.
Far too many times in the past, it has lost its way in a quest to start aggressively, which is where the fineness of captain Merissa Aguilleira comes in handy. Underrated most times as compared to some of her contemporaries, her ability to remain calm under pressure will be important for her team to mount a challenge.
Up against West Indies is a team that's coming off a dream summer, yet hungry to make up for its slip-up last time, in the 2012 edition of the tournament. England's winning run ended in the final, where it was pipped by four runs, but its back-to-back Ashes wins in August and January makes it the overwhelming favourite. It's a tag Edwards isn't too perturbed by and that perhaps stems from her vast experience as a player and captain.
It's astonishing how Edwards, who will complete nearly two decades in the game, maintains her consistency and isn't bogged down by expectations. But she will hope for able support from Sarah Taylor, who is the X factor, and Lydia Greenway.Taylor, an explosive top-order batter, who is also capable of dropping anchor when the situation demands.
As good as the batting attack may be, England prides itself on being a bowling force. In Katherine Brunt and Anya Shrubsole, it possesses an able new ball attack. Brunt is easily the faster of the two, while Shrubsole's strength is her ability to create pressure by bowling tight lines.Natalie Sciver, the medium pacer, comes in as the specialist all-rounder, while Danielle Hazell completes the attack.
Its best spinner the last time around was Holly Colvin, who will be missing in action this time after deciding to forego the game in order to pursue an alternative career, while Arran Brindle, the batter, called time on her career after England's Ashes win in January.
Colvin's unavailability paves the way for the inclusion of Rebecca Grundy and Jodie Dibble, the uncapped spinners, who have an opportunity to impress in ideal conditions.
England ticks most boxes if a checklist were to be drawn, but against a mercurial West Indies side capable of upsetting anyone's apple cart, a degree of caution over flamboyance could be the order of the day.
West Indies: Merissa Aguilleira (capt, wk), Shemaine Campbelle, Deandra Dottin, Chinelle Henry, Kycia Knight, Kyshona Knight, Stafanie Taylor, Stacy-Ann King, Shanel Daley, Natasha McLean, Anisa Mohammed, Subrine Munroe, Shakera Selman, Tremayne Smartt, Shaquana Quintyne.
England: Charlotte Edwards (capt), Tamsin Beaumont, Sarah Taylor (wk), Lydia Greenway, Rebecca Grundy, Jenny Gunn, Danielle Hazell, Amy Jones, Heather Knight, Natalie Sciver, Anya Shrubsole, Frances Wilson, Kathryn Cross, Jodie Dibble, Georgia Elwiss.