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Spin bowling could be a huge factor for West Indies women as they look to topple Australia in the semi-final of the ICC Women's World T20 tournament on Friday. Head Coach Sherwin Campbell believes that with five quality spinners in his team, this could be extremely helpful as they take on the defending champions at the Premadasa Stadium.
"We have not played at Premadasa as yet, this will be our first game there, but from what we have been seeing spin bowling and good spin bowling could be a factor in the match. We used five spinners against South Africa in the last match and that worked wonders for us, so we will look at the pitch, make an assessment and see what direction we go against the Aussies," Campbell said.
"The South Africans were weak against spin so we used all five. We also have three seamers in our team as well so we have a lot of options in the bowling department. We might go with the same team, but we will have a choice of pace or spin according to the surface we get for the semi-final game."
The West Indies have two teenaged leg-spinners â€“ Shaquana Quintyne and Shemaine Campbelle â€“ who are dynamic in the outfield in addition to being capable batters. They also have two off-spinners â€“ Anisa Mohammed, the leading wicket-taker in T20 Internationals; and Stafanie Taylor, the Number 1 player in the world. The quintet is completed by Shanel Daley, the experienced and wily left-arm spinner, who also bats in the top-order.
"Looking at the Australia team, we think if we bowl well and field to our usual high standard we can reduce them to a 'gettable' total. Then we would have to bat sensibly, and I back our batters to deliver for us.
"We went to [the] semi-finals at the last World T20 in the Caribbean so the goal this time around was to go one step further. We have qualified for the semis again so the goal is to reach the final and win it. The girls realise this and are prepared to put in the hard work and lift the cup."
Campbell, a former West Indies opening batsman and vice captain, has prepared his team very well for this tournament. Earlier in the year they had series wins at home against India and Pakistan. They lost away to England last month in damp conditions, but since arriving in Sri Lanka they have refocused and topped their first round group with two excellent wins over New Zealand and South Africa.
"To beat a team like New Zealand required a huge effort. They qualified for the finals in 2009 and 2010 so to beat them was great for us. We lost to Sri Lanka, but we came back strong against South Africa and that showed that once we step up our game we can beat anyone. We need to make sure we step up our game at the right time. Now is the right time."
The women's semi-final will be played on the same day and at the same venue as the men's semi-final, which also features West Indies and Australia. The match will be televised live, which Campbell believes is a huge fillip for women's cricket in the Caribbean and around the world.
"This is great for the girls to play in the best venues and get exposure on international television. However, I don't want them to get too excited about the idea of a crowd of over 30,000 and millions watching on TV â€“ sometimes these things can make you nervous. I just want them to go out and enjoy the game and give their best. Once they do that they will be successful. I just want them to show the world that they can play cricket and play it well," Campbell said.
Squad: Merissa Aguilleira (captain), Stafanie Taylor (vice captain), Shemaine Campbell, Britney Cooper, Shanel Daley, Deandra Dottin, Stacy-Ann King, Kycia Knight, Anisa Mohammed, Subrina Munroe, Juliana Nero, Shaquana Quintyne, Shakera Selman, Tremayne Smartt
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