Wed, 08 Feb 2023

Potchefstroom [South Africa], January 22 (ANI): West Indies captain Hayley Matthews admitted on Sunday that her side's batting was a huge concern and needs to improve from "top to bottom", as it was not able to produce big partnerships.

Batting has been Windies achilles heel in women's T20Is for a while right now. Their middle-order woes has hampered their performances over the last couple of years. Since January 2021, the middle order (number four to seven) has been averaging 12.12, which is the lowest among the full teams in T20I cricket.

In their first match of the women's T20I tri-series involving South Africa and India, Shemaine Campbelle, batting at number four, scored 11 off mere 24 runs that the middle order made.

Matthews admitted that the middle order has been disappointing, but bigger contributions are needed from the top order.

"We are missing a lot of big players," Matthews was quoted by ESPNCricinfo as saying after West Indies' 44-run defeat against South Africa.

"Players like Chinelle Henry, who we usually have in the lower middle order, are capable of hitting the ball out of the park and even Chedean Nation, who played today, but they have just not been able to get going as yet. So yeah, it is the same story all around.""We need to improve from the top right down to the bottom of our batting line-up in the way that we are playing at the moment. It is pretty clear we are not being able to put big enough partnerships. At the same time, we have a lot of injuries, with key batters out," said Matthews.

Windies' issues are not only limited to the middle order as ever since Deandra Dottin announced her shock retirement last year, her side has been yet to zero in on an opening partner for Matthews. Aaliyah Alleyne, a bowling all-rounder who had not batted above number seven in T20Is, was asked to open in nine matches -- four against New Zealand and five against England.

The combination of her and Matthews could, however, only produce a best partnership of just 23 runs and she was not even a part of the match against South Africa on Saturday.

Brittney Cooper, who returned to the side ahead of the tri-nation series, having last played a T20I in September 2021, opened the batting as Windies added 32 runs for the opening wicket in their chase of 142. She was in good touch and hit three fours before being dismissed for 14 off 13 balls.

Matthews said the Windies are still trying to find out their best combination at the top and backed Cooper to come good in coming matches.

"At the moment, we are trying out players and giving players an opportunity to grab that opening spot," Matthews said.

"Britney Cooper did not look that bad out there today. So, hopefully she is the one that can come out there and really produce [what we need]. The [T20] World Cup is the main goal for us and we are trying out different options to see what fits best.""Sometimes as international cricket goes, it is about digging deeper. At the same time, we need to get some more runs at the top of the order. It is not a matter of what is happening at the toss, as we have struggled to get runs in both the first and the second innings," concluded Matthews.

West Indies are also working on managing Stafanie Taylor, who is bidding to return to action after an injury layoff. She had to retire hurt during the third ODI against New Zealand last year in September and is working to be back on the field.

"For now it is just about the physio and medical people and the coaches managing the load with Stafanie," Matthews said, adding, "The T20 World Cup is the main picture for us here in South Africa and we want to try and manage her as best as possible and have her fit and ready for the World Cup." (ANI)

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