Backing ourselves to play good cricket against England: West Indies skipper Matthews

St John’s (Antigua), Dec 4 (IANS) West Indies captain Hayley Matthews is aware of the challenge of facing a strong England team, but she believes her players can use their knowledge of the conditions at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium to their advantage in the first of the three-match ODI series, starting in Jamaica late on Sunday.

The last time these two teams played an ODI series in the Caribbean in 2016 in Jamaica, England emerged as winners by 3-2 and Hayley was still a newbie, despite being part of the West Indies that won the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup earlier in the year in India.

But now as captain of the West Indies team, she is looking to reverse the result in the favour of the hosts’. “We know it’s a really important series, but the team is in a good space, but we’re backing ourselves to play good cricket against England. We know they have one of the best teams in the world, but at the same time coming to play in the Caribbean is a hard task.”

“We are going to use our knowledge of the conditions here in Antigua and when we go over to Barbados to our advantage. Also, we learned a lot from the last series against New Zealand, especially what we need to do to get over the line, after the close games we had, so we’re going to try to implement that in this series,” she was quoted as saying by the official website of Cricket West Indies.

The ODI series is the second opportunity for the West Indies, currently in fifth place, to gain points in the ICC Women’s Championship (IWC) after losing their opening series to New Zealand 2-1 at home in September.

Though the hosts’ will be boosted by the return of Kycia Knight and Shemaine Campbell, the two keeper-batters, after recovering from injuries, experienced all-rounder Stafanie Taylor is still unavailable as she is still recovering from the knee injury sustained during the third ODI against New Zealand in September.

In the absence of Stafanie, Hayley is backing Aaliyah Alleyne to come good against an England team boosted by the return of regular captain Heather Knight and all-rounder Nat Sciver.

“Staf brings so much to the team, and we all miss her when she’s not part of it but it gives young players a massive opportunity to make a name for themselves. Aaliyah Alleyne was one of those players who stepped up in the last series and she’s going to be crucial for us in both batting and bowling in this series.”

The top five teams in the IWC will automatically book a berth for the Women’s Cricket World Cup in 2025, to be held in India. The remaining five teams in the IWC will have to go through the Women’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier to qualify for the 50-over tournament.

After the conclusion of the ODI series, a five-match T20I series will happen. The first game will be held in Antigua on December 11, while the rest of the four matches will happen in Barbados till December 22.



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