It is a scriptwriter’s dream. No team is through to the semi-finals going into the last day of the Group B fixtures of the Women’s World T20. West Indies could have become the first had they beaten England in Dharamasla on Thursday, but a one-wicket loss meant they had hit a road block. West Indies will draw solace from the fact that they are still in control of their fate – a win on Sunday would put them in the semi-finals – unlike India, who have to win and also hope England beat Pakistan in Chennai.
Stafanie Taylor leads a side who would win most battles of on-field celebrations, but very little of their vibrant nature has been seen lately. The captain herself was crestfallen after the loss to England, but hoped the team would move on quickly.
Taylor is “free-spirited” most times, but taking over the captaincy in September 2015 has transformed her outlook. An otherwise fearless batsman, Taylor has had to slip into the role of shepherding the batting line-up. Scores of 40, 40 and 35 in the tournament so far suggest she has been successful, but that still does little to dispel a notion that West Indies are largely reliant on her and Deandra Dottin for their runs.
“We do have good talent coming through – Hayley Matthews and Shaquana Quintyne to just name a few. But the standard back home is not what we would have liked to,” Taylor said when asked if the gap between domestic and international cricket was a bridge too far. “We are trying to get to where Australia and England are. The reason why you hear a just few of our names is because we are consistent. We are trying to get players to emulate us, be as consistent as they can be.”
Taylor’s opposite number Mithali Raj hoped India could cash in on a lifeline offered to them, even though they have to wait for a favour from England.
“The girls realise every match is very important. We have had some slip-ups, but have another opportunity to make do with. It’s important for us to regroup and play well,” she said. “I do understand lots of them were under pressure against Pakistan, it was evident. I’m sure that experience helped them against England. They gave the team an opportunity to come back into the game. It will help us in the future. As of now, bowling and fielding, we look good. We need to work a lot on the batting.
Cricket aside, both captains were also asked about the disparity in pay, a debate that hasn’t ceased even as the tournament enters the business end. While ICC has taken a few steps – like increasing the overall prize money of the women’s tournament to 400,000 USD, a 122% raise from 2014, reports of women cricketers being made to fly economy class, and not business class like their male counterparts, have fuelled the fire.