WI Women hopeful of CWC semis
LEICESTER, England (CMC):
Teenaged opener Hayley Matthews says West Indies Women are still hopeful of making the final four of the ICC Women's World Cup, despite their nightmare start to the tournament.
The Caribbean side are bottom of the eight-team standings without a point, having lost all three games by hefty margins and still with several tough assignments ahead in their remaining four games.
New Zealand Women, one of the tournament favourites, will present a stern challenge for West Indies on Thursday but Matthews said the team remained optimistic.
"We still have a possibility of qualifying, winning four games so I think we just need to go out there and fight as hard as possible for these last couple of games and hope that things go our way," the 19-year-old told a media conference here.
"New Zealand have a very good squad but we do as well. We know that on our day we are capable of beating anyone and once we go out there and perform as well as we know we can and execute our skills as well as we know we can, we will go out there and beat them."
West Indies lost their two opening games of the tournament last week when they went down to reigning champions Australia Women by eight wickets and to India Women by seven wickets in Taunton.
However, they were at their worst on Sunday as they plunged to a heavy 10-wicket defeat after being bundled out for a shocking 48 - their second lowest-ever total in One-Day Internationals (ODIs).
Matthews, one of the few in-form players, said the issue with the Windies side was one of lack of execution.
"We didn't do too well against them in the first game (warm-up) but we looked to come out in this game start fresh [but] I guess we just went out there and weren't able to execute our skills," she explained.
Meanwhile, the Windies Women's already troubled ICC World Cup campaign received another blow yesterday when the new-ball pair of Shamilia Connell and Shakera Selman were ruled out of the tournament with injury.
Connell, 24, limped out of West Indies' second match against India last Thursday after sending down just four overs and was subsequently diagnosed with a hip injury.
The 27-year-old Selman, meanwhile, a veteran of 66 One-Day Internationals, suffered a blow to the head with the ball while fielding in the opening match against Australia Women last Monday and has not played since.
The International Cricket Council announced yesterday that the pair would be replaced by batsman Kycia Knight and fast bowler Subrina Munroe.
Knight, the twin sister of Kyshona Knight who is already a member of the Windies squad here, is an experienced campaigner with 44 ODIs but had a lean Regional Super50 domestic tournament last April with just 35 runs in six outings.
The 32-year-old Munroe has played 23 ODIs and was one of the leading fast bowlers in the domestic tournament with 13 wickets at eight runs apiece.