Windies is hoping to extend winning form against Ireland

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West Indies Women captain Stafanie Taylor.

HARARE, Zimbabwe– West Indies Women open their 50-over World Cup bid in earnest here Monday when they clash with minnows Ireland Women in their first match of the ICC Qualifiers.

The Caribbean side is on an unbeaten run, sweeping Pakistan 3-0 in Karachi earlier this month and then crushing Thailand Women in their official warm-up match here last week.

And captain Stafanie Taylor says she wants the excellent form to continue as West Indies Women chase their berth in next year’s showpiece in New Zealand.

“We had a good series against Pakistan, so I would love to see, not just for tomorrow’s game but throughout the competition, that we continue from where we left off in Pakistan,” Taylor said ahead of the contest at Old Hararians.

“We’ve been playing some good cricket, and we’ve been getting some perfect scores from our top players and even from [the rest of the] batting lineup.”

She added: “I believe the all-around ability of our team is our strength. Our batting is peaking at a good time heading into the Qualifiers [and] our bowlers are showing that they can defend the scores posted by the batters.

“So we are looking forward to a competitive but enjoyable tournament.”

Of particular satisfaction for West Indies Women will be the resurgence in their batting, which has struggled in recent times.

Deandra Dottin hit a career-best 132 in the opening One-Day International against Pakistan and another in the warm-up against Thailand. At the same time, Taylor struck here the second century of the year with an unbeaten 102 in the third ODI against Pakistan.

And with the likes of Hayley Matthews and Chedean Nation among the runs with half-centuries in Pakistan, Taylor believes the form augurs well for the upcoming campaign.

“I think the morale is pretty good, especially seeing batters getting runs,” she said.

“I think that’s something we have been working on; the batting scoring runs and helping the team because we’ve been relying on the bowling department for quite some time now, so it’s been nice that the batters have been scoring those runs.”

West Indies Women are currently ranked sixth in the ICC charts while Ireland Women are four notches lower, but Taylor stressed there would be no complacency on her side’s part.

“That’s one thing you don’t want to do. Everyone’s here to win the competition, and some of the teams we haven’t played them in such a long time,” she noted.

“We’re not here to take any team for granted. We’re here to play hard cricket and come out on top.”

SQUAD – Stafanie Taylor (captain), Anisa Mohammed (vice-captain), Aaliyah Alleyne, Shemaine Campbelle, Shamilia Connell, Deandra Dottin, Sheneta Grimmond, Chinelle Henry, Qiana Joseph, Kycia Knight, Kyshona Knight, Hayley Matthews, Chedean Nation, Shakera Selman, Rashada Williams.

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