Photo Credit: Cricket West Indies
The West Indies head into their vital game against Ireland at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2023 game with some key players potentially absent.
In Wednesday’s defeat to India, Stafanie Taylor was stretchered off the field, while skipper Hayley Matthews also suffered a shoulder injury late on in the game.
Coach Courtney Walsh is optimistic that his captain will be fit to play, with the Windies needing a victory in Cape Town to have any hope of reaching the knockout stages.
He said: “Hayley came off the field and was a very major concern for us, but the good news this morning is that she has rested well and the next 24 hours you will know.
“She is a lot more positive than the others, so it’s a good sign.
“She is a fighter, she is tough, you know, we have got some good fighters in the set-up, but Hayley’s one. She knows her body well and she will struggle a little bit. I think she’ll be okay.”
While the news on Matthews was positive, the update on Taylor, who has been troubled by a back injury in recent times, was less definitive.
Walsh explained: “She’s still on the medical tier. She’s been rested, evaluated still, but the most important thing is to make sure the athlete is okay.
“We’re taking every precaution that is necessary to ensure her health comes first and then once we get the updates on that, we can sort of look to progress.”
With defeats to India and England in their first two matches, West Indies’ fate is out of their hands, and Walsh admits it will be tough to reach the semi-finals.
Despite that, though, he is desperate for the 2016 champions to get back to winning ways after a run of 15 successive defeats.
He said: “We have two matches to play and we’re still looking to win those two games. That’s the only way we’re going to have any slight outside chance. But I think with the way India and England have played, obviously they’re way ahead in the zone.
“We’ll start to do what we can to try and win our two remaining games and then see where it takes us from there. But at this point in time, I would say India and England, they have gone out in front.”
Ireland find themselves in a similar position, having fallen to a 70-run defeat to Pakistan in their second match, following an opening loss to England.
That means that only wins over the Windies and India will give them any chance of reaching the semi-finals, a disappointing return after a win over defending champions Australia in the warm-up games.
For all-rounder Leah Paul, there is no question the team is capable of challenging the best, but execution has been lacking thus far.
She said: “As a group we’re extremely disappointed with how the game went (against Pakistan). I think mainly because we probably know that we didn’t execute our skills to the ability that we I guess can and have done against that side a few months ago.
“I think it’s probably good (to be playing again so soon). I think we’re kind of renowned for our ability to be able to bounce back.
“We know what they’re going to bring to the game.
“They have a few seamers and then also a few good quick ball spinners as well. We know what we’re going to face and it’s just about how we go out there and I guess try our skills better than what we have done the past few games.
“We know and we’ve proven that if we go out there and put a full team performance out there to the best of our ability we can beat any team in the world, so hopefully that’s the plan, try and right a few wrongs.”