Go big or go home for Stafanie Taylor’s boom-to-bust West Indies
- Match 23: South Africa Women v West Indies Women
- Basin Reserve, Wellington
- Thursday 24 March, 11:00 Local Time
The Caribbean outfit have lit up the tournament, producing shock wins early on against New Zealand and England to blow the group stage wide open, and clinging on for a nerve-jangling victory against Bangladesh.
But defeat in the rain-shortened match against Pakistan last time out has left West Indies needing a win against one of the best teams in the world if they are to keep their chances of reaching the World Cup semi-finals alive.
While six points may still be enough to see a side into the knockout stages of the tournament in New Zealand, the net run rate situation means the West Indies won’t be able to make it through on their current six-point tally.
And even a win over South Africa on Thursday may not be enough, depending on results elsewhere, meaning the Windies may need to both pull off a shock win and significantly improve their run rate.
It’s a daunting task for the side coached by West Indies legend Courtney Walsh, but it’s not beyond the reach of a talented squad.
If a couple of the key batters – Deandra Dottin, Hayley Matthews and Stafanie Taylor – come off then West Indies have more than enough with the bat to challenge their highly-ranked opponents.
And the quality of the West Indies’ spin attack could also cause South Africa some problems.
Faced with a tall task, all Taylor and her team can do is give the game their best shot, and that most likely means finding some form with the bat.
“I think even from that first game, we haven’t got consistent performances from our batters,” assistant coach Corey Collymore said.
“You know in 50 over cricket you always talk about one batter batting right through, or two or three batters getting scores. Everyone keeps saying we've got quality batters, but quality batters are not putting up quality performances.
“We’ve got one more game, still another World Cup game, still another international game. So you have to go into it with a positive mindset and look to win the game.”
Thursday’s opponents South Africa are also yet to guarantee a spot in the semi-finals, despite starting the group stage with four consecutive wins.
The loss to tournament-favourites Australia on Tuesday out means that the Proteas still aren’t quite across the line, but all-rounder Chloe Tryon says the players are keen to bounce back and build up some momentum towards the latter stages of the tournament.
“We've got two important games coming up against West Indies and India, which are very important for us to make sure that we qualify and get good momentum going into the semi-final and potentially final,” Tryon said.
“So it’s not the end of the world. We'll just have to refresh and have got to make sure that we bounce back.”
South Africa Squad: Suné Luus (c), Chloé Tryon (vc), Ayabonga Khaka, Lara Goodall, Laura Wolvaardt, Lizelle Lee, Marizanne Kapp, Masabata Maria Klaas, Mignon du Preez, Nonkululeko Mlaba, Shabnim Ismail, Sinalo Jafta, Tazmin Brits, Trisha Chetty, Tumi Sekhukhune. Travelling reserves: Andrie Steyn, Nadine de Klerk, Raisibe Ntozakhe
West Indies Squad: Stafanie Taylor (c), Anisa Mohammed (vc), Aaliyah Alleyne, Shemaine Campbelle, Shamilia Connell, Deandra Dottin, Afy Fletcher, Cherry Ann Fraser, Chinelle Henry, Kycia Knight, Hayley Matthews, Chedean Nation, Karishma Ramharack, Shakera Selman, Rashada William. Travelling Reserves: Kaysia Schultz, Mandy Mangru, Jannillea Glasgow
Marizanne Kapp: Rated as the third-best allrounder on the ICC Women's ODI Rankings, Kapp is crucial to South Africa’s chances of doing something special in New Zealand. The 32-year-old played a pivotal role in helping the Perth Scorchers claim the WBBL title earlier in 2022, and is just as capable in 50-over cricket. Kapp can also be quite effective with the bat, with her middle-order hitting a strength for the South African side.
Stafanie Taylor: The West Indies all-rounder is a proven match-winner on her day and is always among the wickets that opposition teams want most. Taylor is almost as adept with her off-spin as she is with the bat, and is definitely one for the Proteas to keep an eye on.
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Captaincy Pick – Hayley Matthews
The West Indies all-rounder was in outstanding form in her team’s win over New Zealand on the opening day of the tournament. Her brilliant 119 at the top of the order showed the kind of quality that will worry the best in the world, but she needs to deliver again to keep her team's World Cup dream alive.
Must have – Ayabonga Khaka
One of the less-heralded members of South Africa’s excellent bowling unit, Khaka’s four-wicket haul against Bangladesh was a reminder that the 29-year-old is among the world’s best bowlers. And she followed it up with two more in the win over Pakistan, as well as executing a crucial run-out, before returning impressive figures of 3/31 in the win over New Zealand. The right-arm quick is one of three South Africans in the top six of the latest ICC ODI Bowling Rankings, along with her compatriots Shabnim Ismail and Marizanne Kapp.
This is one of seven matches to be held at the Basin Reserve in Wellington over the course of the tournament.
An established international-standard ground, 'The Basin' will also be the site of the first semi-final.
All eight teams at the tournament are playing each other across seven rounds in a league format.
The top four teams in the standings after the conclusion of the Group Stage will qualify for the semi-finals, which will be held in the final week of March.
South Africa’s remaining tournament fixtures:
- 24 March v West Indies
- 27 March v India
This is West Indies’ final fixture in the group stage.
- 24 March v South Africa