Hayley Matthews, the Windies all-rounder, said her side has a lot going for them ahead of their clash against South Africa in the first of three ICC Women's Championship one-day internationals on Sunday, 16 September.
Home advantage will play a big role, said Matthews, but the fact that the Windies defeated South Africa when they toured there in 2016 would also bear down on the visitors. In fact, she expressed her hopes of achieving a whitewash.
"South Africa is a very good team. The last time we played them in South Africa, we were able to get a 2-1 victory," she said. "So just knowing that, playing on home soil... we know the pitches here better than anyone else. Hopefully, we can get a 3-0 victory in the ODIs and go up in the Championship."
"We have a good opportunity to make history."— ICC (@ICC) September 14, 2018
Hilton Moreeng is hoping South Africa can win their first ever Women's ODI series in the West Indies, but they'll need to focus hard on their basics.
Does success in the past add to the pressure? "I don't think there's going to be any added pressure," she said. "For me, it's just about turning that so-called pressure into motivation to push us to do better on the field."
As for Hendy Springer, the coach, apart from the obvious ambition of securing a series win, he wanted his players to show signs of improvement that could pave the way for long-term success.
"I want the ladies to improve their game skill-wise, fitness-wise, and to ultimately win the series," he said. "That is more long-term. I want to see that attitude towards improving and winning."
That said, both Matthews and Springer were aware that South Africa wouldn't just let the Windies have a walk in the park. They have been in decent form of late – they lost their most recent series in England 2-1, but performed well nevertheless.
But Matthews said the Windies would look to exploit the inexperience of the newer players in the opposition. "We know South Africa are a good team," she said. "They have a lot of experienced players in their captain Dane van Niekerk, Marizanne Kapp, Mignon du Preez ... a lot of players who have been in the side for a long time.
"They have a lot of new players as well, and hopefully we can take advantage of that by picking on their inexperience."
The @windieswomen have opted for experience in their ODI squad, while two uncapped players are in the T20I side for the series against South Africa.— ICC (@ICC) September 7, 2018
Details 👇 https://t.co/25nFaekkeCpic.twitter.com/qd3lCuGWIH
"Obviously in women's cricket, all the teams are challenges," Springer added. "(South Africa) had a series against England which went pretty well for both sides. I think they're worthy opponents."
However, Matthews said the home team was primed to do well, given the hard work they had put in. "Everything's going well for us," she said. "Over the last couple of months, we've been working really hard, going back to basics and we're really putting in a lot of work, covering all three aspects of our game.
"I have no doubt that we have the ability to go out there and do what we need to."
“You won’t see more beautiful places, but when it comes to cricket, the West Indies will test the athlete in you like very few places will." @danevn81 analyses @OfficialCSA's Caribbean challenge 🏝️💪https://t.co/6ZADgLw36fpic.twitter.com/2TB8WGyLcZ— ICC (@ICC) September 13, 2018
Matthews added that her "main goal" was to score a century in the ODIs – something she is yet to do. "It'll be really nice if I can get a hundred or maybe even two or three in front of the home crowd," she said. "That's my main goal this series. Then with the ball, be able to contribute in a positive manner."
The ODIs will be followed by a three-match Twenty20 International series, a contest that has added significance heading into the the ICC Women's World Twenty20 in the Caribbean in November. "Looking forward to the T20 series, just getting some positives," said Matthews.
"Getting those scores and targets that we want to hit going into the World Cup, restricting teams to low totals, restricting South Africa to 120 or 110 – (these would be the) positives for us going into the World Cup."
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