Regional powerhouses Barbados look to make a mark at international level

Barbados qualified for the Commonwealth Games by virtue of being the T20 Blaze champions © West Indies Players' Association

Cricket will return to the Commonwealth Games for the first time in 24 years when India take on Australia at the Edgbaston in Birmingham on Friday (July 29). The 1998 edition only featured men’s cricket, whereas women’s cricket will be making its debut at the multi-sport event. Barbados will also be in action on the opening day. They will start their campaign by facing Pakistan, the fourth team in Group A.

How they made it

CWG only features countries and with West Indies not being a country, that spot went to Barbados. Barbados had won the fifth edition of the T20 Blaze in 2019, which was the last instalment of the tournament held before the COVID-19 pandemic.

What have they done in the past?

With women’s cricket being a part of the Games of the first time, there’s no previous history to go by. Barbados have been highly successful in the T20 Blaze though. They have won two of the six editions of the tournament, their other win came in 2018.

They have also finished runners-up on two occasions. They were runners-up to Jamaica in the latest edition in 2022 and had also finished runners-up to Jamaica in the 2013 edition.

How has their recent form been?

Barbados won four of their five matches in the T20 Blaze this year. Their only loss came in their final match against Trinidad & Tobago, where their batting failed to fire in a small chase of 109.

They have had a lot of success in the Super 50 Cup too, the domestic 50 over tournament in the West Indies. They have won each of the last three editions. In the last edition, the team topped the group stage, winning both their matches and also won the semis and final against Jamaica comfortably to emerge victorious.

Squad

Hayley Matthews (C), Aaliyah Alleyne, Shanika Bruce, Shai Carrington, Shaunte Carrington, Shamilia Connell, Deandra Dottin, Keila Elliott, Trishan Holder, Kycia Knight, Kyshona Knight, Alisa Scantlebury, Shakera Selman, Tiffany Thorpe, Aaliyah Williams

Likely playing XI

1. Deandra Dottin 2. Hayley Matthews 3. Kycia Knight 4. Kyshona Knight 5. Alisa Scantlebury 6. Aaliyah Alleyne 7. Shaunte Carrington 8. Shamilia Connell 9. Shanika Bruce 10. Aaliyah Williams 11. Shakera Selman

Key players

Hayley Matthews

The new West Indies captain, Hayley Matthews has had a lot of success as Barbados captain. She was West Indies’ best player at the ODI World Cup this year, scoring the most runs and taking the most wickets for them in their run to the semi-final.

She was also the leading run getter in both the T20 Blaze as well as the Super 50 Cup recently. Matthews was the third-highest wicket taker too in the Super 50 Cup and comes into the Commonwealth Games in scintillating form.

Her leadership style is generally very proactive and aggressive and it will be interesting to see if she can bring that to the international level as well.

Hayley Matthews will lead Barbados

Hayley Matthews will lead Barbados © Barbados Cricket Association

Deandra Dottin

Like Matthews, Dottin has been in superb form in 2022. She has bowled a lot more this year than the past couple of years. She stood up in the clutch moments for the West Indies at the World Cup earlier this year.

She was the Player of the Tournament at the Women’s T20 Challenge earlier this year in India, where she guided the Supernovas to the title with an all-round show in the final.

Other than her thrusting starts with the bat, Barbados will also rely on Dottin’s death bowling in what is an international quality bowling attack.

X factor

Shanika Bruce

The 27-year old Shanika Bruce has not yet played for the West Indies but she has represented West Indies A in the past. The right arm medium pacer has the ability to generate prodigious swing with the new ball.

The conditions in England might be to her liking and her ability to strike regularly with the new ball might give Barbados an early edge. She was the leading wicket taker in the T20 Blaze this year, scalping nine wickets in five matches at an average of 8.66 in just 20 overs.

Aaliyah Alleyne

While her numbers at the World Cup earlier this year might not stand out, Aaliyah Alleyne has made rapid strides for West Indies and she often fronted up to bowl the difficult overs at the World Cup.

She was the joint second-highest wicket taker in the T20 Blaze as well as the joint second-highest wicket taker in the Super 50 Cup, picking up eight wickets each in both the tournaments.

Prediction


Barbados may never have played before at the international stage but a lot of their players are regulars for the West Indies or have played for them in the past. Their bowling attack is very high quality and they have two of the best batters in the world in Matthews and Dottin.

They will fancy their chances against Pakistan and might give India and Australia a scare too if one of their openers can bat deep into the innings.