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West Indies are now fully focused on facing Australia in the first of the knockout games in Wellington

Khel Today Bureau

New Delhi: After celebrating their progression to the semi-finals excitedly, the West Indies are now fully focused on facing Australia in the first of the knockout games in Wellington.

The West Indies faced a 72-hour wait to confirm their place in the semi-finals, needing South Africa to defeat India in the final group game.


South Africa did just that, bringing up the win off the final ball of the match, and the Maroon Warriors were overjoyed as they watched on from their hotel.

There was, however, one calm head in the room, that of the captain Stafanie Taylor, who reflected on the changes the side have made to reach only a second ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup semi-final.

“I think it’s just my personality. I’m not just one of those persons who get all excited and jump around,” Taylor said. “It’s just who I am really and the reason why I was just so calm but everybody’s all excited to be here.

“We’ve had some changes to our team, we have a new coaching staff. I believe that the work they have been doing with us has changed the way we go about our game.

“Some of our games have changed because when you have those coaches who give us some insight on how we are playing versus hold we should play.

“I feel like that flipped the switch in us and this will be our second time being in a semi-final and we want to relish the moment and go out there and play hard cricket.”

The West Indies reached the final of the 2013 edition, where they came up against Australia again.

In that encounter, Ellyse Perry took three wickets for 19 runs as the West Indies were bowled out for 145 in their chase of 260, with Perry also earning three dismissals when the two sides met earlier in the tournament.

However, Australia will be without their star all-rounder after she failed to recover from back spasms that kept her out of the final group game against Bangladesh.

For Taylor and her side, it does not make their task any easier.

She said: “We haven’t spoken about that and I don’t think it is something that we were going to talk about. I feel like Australia is a strong team and whether Ellyse Perry is on or she is out.

“They’re a strong team and we still have to go ahead with our plans and focused on what we need to do as a team and not too much on them.”

Meanwhile Australia captain Meg Lanning admitted it was a big loss to not be able to field their most experienced World Cup player on the eve of a huge game.

Lanning said: “Ellyse Perry won’t play tomorrow. She’s been ruled out of the semi-final. She unfortunately just ran out of time to prove her fitness so we will go in without her tomorrow.

“We’ll keep assessing her if we are to progress in the tournament. It’s unfortunate for her and the team obviously it’s a big blow but we feel like we’ve got some good depth to be able to cover it and we’re going to have to do that.”

Australia’s own qualification for the knockout stages was confirmed with two games to spare before the top-ranked side defeated South Africa and Bangladesh to go unbeaten in the league stage.

However, Lanning’s side still had to wait until that final game to know who they would be playing and where, with South Africa’s victory confirming Australia would be staying in Wellington and facing the West Indies who ended up fourth in the table.

Despite defeating the Windies by seven wickets in the group stages, and playing their fifth game in Wellington, Lanning believes the semi-final will be a tough test.

She said: “I think everyone was following along in their own rooms and it was an amazing game and amazing finish. It’s classic in terms of the way the tournament’s gone. Every game has been really close, there’s been lots of twists and turns right to the end. It was an incredible finish.

“South Africa played extremely well and it meant we play the West Indies, which is going to be a huge challenge for us. We know they’re a very dangerous team.

“They’ve shown throughout the tournament that when they’re on, they can be very hard to beat, so we’re looking forward to the challenge.”

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