Even though West Indies' overall ODI form hasn't been good of late, Stafanie Taylor and co. will go into the ICC Women's World Cup in New Zealand as a dark horse considering the talent and potential they have in their squad.
The West Indies have been short on wins since the last World Cup, coming out on the right side in just 13 of their 39 ODI matches in that time.
But, despite the paucity of victories, this World Cup cycle has been a valuable development time for a talented young squad, who will hope that the experience they have gained will aid them on the biggest stage.
Stafanie Taylor and Deandra Dottin will have a particularly important role to play. Not only are they two of West Indies' most experienced players, they are two of their best players as well. The duo are capable of providing stand-out contributions with both bat and ball, and their all-round success will be pivotal to the team's chances.
Anisa Mohammed and Chedean Nation are two other experienced players, and they have another young and talented player in Hayley Matthews. The youngster has come up with plenty of breath-taking all-round performances of late and will be eager to maximise her talent and make an impact in the World Cup.
West Indies finished sixth in the last edition but have enough talent in their squad this year to better that result. They might not be entering the tournament as the favourites but are definitely a side to watch out for as they have the ability to take down any team in the tournament on their day.
Stafanie Taylor (C), Anisa Mohammed, Deandra Dottin, Hayley Matthews, Shakera Selman, Shamilia Connell, Aaliyah Alleyne, Kycia Knight, Afy Fletcher, Shemaine Campbelle, Chedean Nation, Rashada Williams, Cherry-Ann Fraser, Chinelle Henry, Kaysia Schultz
4 Mar - v NZ
9 Mar - v ENG
12 Mar - v IND
15 Mar - v AUS
18 Mar - v BAN
21 Mar - v PAK
24 Mar - v SA
Best Finish: Runner-up (2013)
West Indies have played in six editions of the Women’s World Cup to date and have made it to the final once, where they lost to Australia. They didn't have the best of starts to that tournament in 2013, winning just one out of their three group stage matches, but that was enough to take them to the Super Sixes. West Indies turned their fortunes around completely thereafter, winning four out of their five matches and making it to the final against Australia. But the final proved a step too far, with Australia winning by 114 runs as they bowled West Indies out for 145 after posting a total of 259/7.
Look Out For
The 23-year-old has become a vital member of the West Indies side, opening the batting and bowling useful off-breaks in the middle overs as well. Matthews has already amassed more than 1500 runs in 60 ODIs, including two centuries and six fifties, and she has picked up 68 wickets at an excellent average of 24.50 as well.
The youngster is capable of playing big shots and can take the attack to the opposition at the start of the innings. She also has the ability to dry up the runs in the middle-overs, as illustrated by her career economy rate of 3.99.
The 30-year-old is one of the best all-rounders in world cricket right now. Taylor will not only be leading West Indies but she will have crucial roles to play with both bat and ball. She is a highly experienced player with more than 5000 runs to her name in 137 ODIs, including seven centuries and 36 half-centuries.
Taylor has picked up 148 wickets as well, at an outstanding average of 21.56 and a mean economy rate of 3.47. West Indies' chances of going into the knockouts will increase massively if Taylor delivers.
Australia - 15 March
There is no doubt that Australia will be the team to beat in this tournament, as they have been the most consistent side in the last five years. But West Indies will have some extra motivation to do well against them given that Australia is the country that defeated them in the 2013 World Cup Final. A win here will not only help the West Indies in avenging that loss but will also give them heaps of confidence going into the business end of the competition.
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