Rejuvenated West Indies ready to make an impression against Pakistan

West Indies during a training session. © Cricket West Indies

The last time Pakistan faced West Indies was in the T20 World Cup 2020 at the picturesque Manuka Oval in Canberra on February 26. Since then the Covid-19 pandemic has sidelined many international sporting events. Since then West Indies toured England for a T20I series and Pakistan were hosted by South Africa for an ODI and a T20I series.

West Indies, currently ranked sixth in the ICC T20I rankings, will start the home series against Pakistan as the better-ranked side. The side hasn’t played any international cricket since September 2020 but they were able to show glimpses of their capabilities against England. Deandra Dottin was the highest run-scorer of the series (185) while Shamilia Connell took seven wickets across five matches.

Veteran and vice-captain Anisa Mohammed, who missed the England tour, will be back for West Indies. Having the highest wicket-taker in the T20Is in the mix will certainly help the captain, Stafanie Taylor. Twin sisters Kycia Knight and Kyshona Knight will also mark their return for the side, which will be West Indies’ first home match since India’s tour of the Caribbean in November 2019.

West Indies will have to find reliable players other than the usual contributors. Their batting line-up is heavily dependent on Taylor, Dottin and Hayley Matthews. They certainly have the capacity and talent to chase down any total but all of it faded against England where West Indies failed to chase any total in four matches. If the final T20I of the England tour is any indication, the bowling attack is probably their current strength.

Pakistan on the other hand, have the big task of handling their talent pool. They will start the series without their designated captain, Bismah Maroof, who is currently on maternity leave. Javeria Khan will lead the side in her absence. Nida Dar, who has been upgraded in the Pakistan central contract list, has the opportunity to become the first-ever Pakistan player – male or female – to join the list of 100 T20I wickets. Pakistan will look to her for performance and experience.

ALSO READ: Nida Dar keen to take up more responsibilities as personal milestone awaits

Currently ranked seventh in the ICC T20I rankings, Pakistan performed well against inspired South Africa but fell short. Anam Amin and Diana Baig’s abilities with the new ball were on the display against South Africa. Pakistan would hope for that to continue. Their fielding was not up to the mark during the previous series and that could make a difference in this series as well.

Pakistan’s batting just like West Indies is dependent on few players which includes captain Khan, Dar and importantly, Aliya Riaz. Their capable batters like Ayesha Naseem, Ayesha Zafar and the like need to step up to give them the edge.

Who will blink first at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, North Sound in Antigua on Wednesday (June 30)? It will be the first time the hosts take the field with Courtney Walsh as the Head Coach.

Squads

West Indies: Stafanie Taylor (c), Anisa Mohammed (vc), Aaliyah Alleyne, Shamilia Connell, Britney Cooper, Deandra Dottin, Chinelle Henry, Kycia Knight, Kyshona Knight, Hayley Matthews, Chedean Nation, Karishma Ramharack, Shakera Selman

Pakistan: Javeria Khan (c), Rameen Shamim, Sidra Nawaz (wk), Aliya Riaz, Aiman Anwar, Anam Amin, Ayesha Naseem, Ayesha Zafar, Diana Baig, Fatima Sana, Iram Javed, Jaweria Rauf, Kainat Imtiaz, Kaynat Hafeez, Maham Tariq, Muneeba Ali Siddiqui (wk), Nahida Khan, Najiha Alvi (wk), Nashra Sundhu, Natalia Parvaiz, Nida Dar, Omaima Sohail, Saba Nazir, Sadia Iqbal, Sidra Amin, and Syeda Aroob Shah