James Piechowski previews the second WWT20 semi-final, taking place later today between New Zealand and West Indies.
Coverage: Sky TV, BBC Radio TMS
Prediction: New Zealand
West Indies have batted first in every game so far, and have become experts at defending their total. New Zealand should therefore look to bat first, or otherwise take early wickets then aim to get off to a flyer in response. They have the players to be able to take the game away from WI, and quickly. The start of each innings will be crucial for both teams, as WI will need to get ahead of the game early on to take NZ out of their comfort zone. Getting 3 wickets as early as possible will expose NZ’s so far untested lower middle order.
Many may expect this match to be straightforward for NZ, but I’m not so sure it will be. WI are better prepared for the cauldron of pressure that tends to build in the latter stages of knock-out tournaments; their batting has a solid foundation, and their death bowling is tight. I think NZ will win, but it will be close. NZ can be beaten, though, and if anyone can do it, it’s one of the three remaining semi-finalists.
Pitch/scores: This will be the first women’s fixture played at Mumbai in the tournament. But based on the men’s games played there, it is an absolute belter – which will suit New Zealand’s big hitting ability nicely. Expect a score of 150 plus from them if batting first or unless WI perform very well. But if Bates, Devine & Co. really get going, who knows what may be possible. The sky is the limit, as they say. The amazing form NZ have been in enables them to drive progress in the women’s game, and set new records, and new standards for the rest to match. Let’s hope they challenge themselves to this new level and give us another memorable contest.