Aguilleira: To be the very best, you must beat the very best

Colombo, Sri Lanka – In just four years the West Indies women’s team has become a major force on the international stage. Under the captaincy of Merissa Aguilleira and the coaching of Sherwin Campbell, the Windies have climbed the world rankings and several players are now ranked among the best in the world.


Two years ago the West Indies women reached the semi-finals of the ICC World T20 where they were ousted by New Zealand. On Friday they will again contest the ICC World T20 semi-finals – this time against Australia at R Premadasa Stadium – and the aim now is to "go all the way". First ball is 2:30 pm (5 am Eastern Caribbean Time/4 am Jamaica Time).

Aguilleira said it perfectly: "We know what it took to get to the semi-finals and we know what it will take to reach the finals. We will play our hearts out…because we are not making just ourselves proud, but the people of the Caribbean and all our fans who have been supporting us here.

"In order to be the very best, you have to win against the very best. We know that the Australians are the defending champions so we have to go hard. Yes, we had a warm-up match against them and they beat us, but at the end of the day, we just have to stay focused on what we want to do…we just have to go out there and play some hard cricket."

West Indies enter the match with confidence following two brilliant wins against the highly-rated New Zealand (by 7 wickets) and South Africa (by 10 wickets) as they topped Group B. Their only defeat was by 5 runs (D/L Method) against Sri Lanka in a rain-affected match.

"When we came into this tournament, I think a lot of people were expecting that New Zealand would have been on top of us, but we proved them wrong," said Aguilleira, the level-headed wicket-keeper.

"Now that we’re here, losing is not an option. All we need to do is carry the momentum into the semi-finals and hopefully through to the final as well. The girls are looking forward to playing in front of all these huge crowds and show our many fans what we can do.

"We are fully confident of going all the way. We came here to play five matches. We have lost one, and we won two but we cannot afford to be complacent. We have two more to win," the 26-year-old said.

Windies fans all across the world have great expectations as the women’s match will be followed by the men’s semi-final, also against Australia.

"I know that the guys had some hiccups. They are definitely on the verge of showing the people what they can do… and I think they will be unstoppable," Aguilleira 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


First round matches – Galle International Stadium, Galle

Wed, Sep 26: West Indies beat New Zealand by 7 wickets

Fri, Sep 28: Sri Lanka beat West Indies by 5 runs (D/L Method)

Sun, Sep 30: West Indies beat South Africa by 10 wickets

Semi-finals – Premadasa Stadium, Colombo

Thu, Oct 4: England vs New Zealand

Fri, Oct 5: Australia vs West Indies

Grand Final

Sun, Oct 7: Winner SF1 vs Winner SF2 – Premadasa Stadium