WWT20: Eyes on semi-final berth as Windies take on Sri Lanka

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In a group that’s still wide open in terms of who finish in the top two, hosts and defending champions Windies will hope to get one foot in the door in their next game.

The Windies are the stronger team, winners of the last edition of the ICC Women’s World T20, placed at No.4 to Sri Lanka’s No.8 on the MRF Tyres ICC Women’s T20I Team Rankings, and, not to forget, playing at home in the ongoing event.

They have also won both their games so far – against Bangladesh by 60 runs and against South Africa by 31 runs, while Sri Lanka earned a valuable point from the washout against England, lost by seven wickets to South Africa, and have beaten Bangladesh by 25 runs.

On paper, then, Stafanie Taylor’s side are the firm favourites to win this one and knock Sri Lanka out of the competition. But they have chinks of their own, which they have so far managed to live with, but might want to iron out as soon as possible before the business end of the tournament comes up.

Batting – that’s the problem for the Windies. You’d think that with Taylor, Deandra Dottin, Hayley Matthews, Natasha McLean and others around, the Windies would top 140 with ease each time they go out. Not so. All they have managed so far, batting first, are 106-8 and 107-7.

Their bowlers – Dottin the first time and Taylor the second – have done the job for them, and they have been outstanding in the field. So the victory margins suggest that they are in a good place. But, as Taylor said after the win over South Africa, “I’m not worried about boundaries. I just believe our application just needs to get better.” That has to change quickly.

For Sri Lanka, too, the batting has been the issue. They batted first and scored just 99-8 against South Africa and put up 97-7 against Bangladesh. The bowlers have held their own, but the batters – captain Chamari Athapaththu especially – must lift their game to give their team a chance.

Key players

Deandra Dottin (Windies): She can score big runs, she can pick up lots of wickets, and she can knock down the stumps on the field – Dottin is one of the stars in the women’s game, and has already put in a couple of excellent performances in the ongoing tournament. None of them have been with the bat, though, and that’s what she will be hoping for next.

Shashikala Siriwardene (Sri Lanka): She is the experienced pro in the mix, and was the star performer in Sri Lanka’s only win – she scored 31 in 33 and then returned 2/10 when Bangladesh batted. A repeat of that might make life difficult for the Windies.

Conditions

The threat of rain hasn’t gone away, but the action on the field hasn’t been affected as much as some expected. It should be a good contest, perhaps low scoring, with spinners getting good purchase. (ICC)

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