Photo Credit: ICC
West Indies head coach Courtney Walsh is delighted his side have proved their doubters wrong ahead of Monday’s crucial ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022 clash against Pakistan.
Few had the Windies earmarked for the semi-finals before the sides arrived in New Zealand but after shocking the hosts and England before sneaking past Bangladesh, Walsh’s side are on the cusp of the last four despite heavy defeats to India and Australia.
A win over Pakistan would be enough to seal the deal if India fail to beat Bangladesh, however, two wins from two – with unbeaten South Africa lying in wait in their final game – should see them progress regardless.
Walsh said: “I’m very pleased. When we left home, a lot of people probably didn’t give us any chance and our last campaign wasn’t as we would have liked it to be.
“This one started very, very well. So, everybody had high hopes. And then we lost two games which is a disappointment, which you can understand from the fans, as we want to win, and we want to do well.
“I’m very, very pleased to be in the position that we’re in now, very happy for the performances of the individuals who have put their hand up.
“But I still don’t think that we have put together the game that we know we can as a team and have all departments doing well.”
Hayley Matthews’ all-round exploits have been crucial to the West Indies’ success with the 24-year-old the tournament’s joint top wicket-taker and seventh highest run-scorer.
Matthews’ off-breaks have brought her 10 victims while conceding just four runs an over, while she averages 45 with the bat having smoked 225 runs in the tournament so far, including a blistering 119 at the top of the order, having initially been destined for the engine room, in the opening win over the White Ferns.
And legendary fast bowler Walsh reserved special praise for his star performer who he hopes can kick on into the latter stages.
He said: “She has had a tremendous tournament, very special. She’s a very special player.
“She’s just gone about her business in the interest of the team. And when you have people playing like that for the team and preparing to do anything that requires to get the team over the line, as a coach, you have to be happy to have a player of that calibre in your team.
“She’s doing excellent with the bat. Very, very good with the ball. As we saw in the last game, the catches that she has taken – so when you have someone like that around you, you just have to be happy for them and hope that the form continues right throughout the World Cup.”
David Hemp’s Pakistan are unable to make the semi-finals after four straight defeats but are aiming to finish the tournament on a high with the head coach targeting three wins from three, starting with the West Indies, to round off their campaign.
He said: “The goal is winning all three, so that hasn’t changed. We obviously take one game at a time because that’s all you can look at. So, for us, nothing has shifted there despite the results. It’s all about focus on the West Indies.
“The key is we keep trying, we keep working with the players and keep instilling that belief in themselves but also the way in which they train, how they train and keep challenging the training, so that at some stage they will get over the line in match situations.
“And then once they do that as a team as a collective, then hopefully you’ll see some confidence grow as a team and they will get more wins.”