Not wanting to be distracted by Thailand’s fairy tale Stafanie Taylor’s West Indies side are focussed on playing good cricket like they would want to against any team at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup as they kick-start their campaign on Saturday at the WACA Stadium, Perth.
When it comes to competing on the global stage, the two sides couldn’t be much further apart, the West Indies having won the tournament back in 2016 and Thailand making their debut in Australia.
Thailand may have already won hearts in Australia but Taylor insists her side won’t be playing nice in Perth and will instead be treating the debutants like any other opponent.
“We’ll be looking at it exactly like playing Australia or India,” said Taylor. “We’re taking it very seriously, for sure. We can’t think in the back of our minds that they know nothing about cricket because we haven’t played or seen much of them. And we can’t assume we’re just going to hit them all around the park. If we adopted that plan, it would definitely backfire.”
Having been in the game for so long, Taylor knows a thing or two about upsetting the odds.
“The ball is round and anything could happen. We just need to keep a positive mindset and make sure we do everything right. It’s going to be a very special moment for Thailand. They’ll be wanting to showcase what women’s cricket is all about to their country,” she added.
Taylor and the West Indies are familiar with all the thrills and spills of the Women’s T20 World Cup, having featured in all six editions so far, including hosting the 2018 tournament.
For Taylor, nothing will beat the experience of competing in the Caribbean but the West Indies skipper says the feeling in Australia is truly something special.
“The experience I had back home in the Caribbean in 2018 was like no other, but the hype around this tournament has been really great,” Taylor added.
Tippoch pumped for Thailand’s opener
‘Don’t be scared’ is the advice Thailand captain Sornnarin Tippoch received ahead of leading her country in their maiden ICC event match.
The 33-year-old, a former softball player who didn’t know the rules of cricket 13 years ago, will lead Thailand in a global event for the first time against the West Indies on Saturday.
And what better way to finalise the preparations than getting the opportunity to share some tips with two of the world’s best batters, Sophie Devine and Suzie Bates.
After Thailand’s warm-up loss to New Zealand in Adelaide this week, Tippoch and her side spent some valuable time catching up with the White Ferns stars, who had some useful words of advice for the debutants.
“They taught us not to be scared of other teams,” said Tippoch. “Whether we’re playing the West Indies, Australia or England, they told us to treat them like the opponent, and not the ‘big team’. Sophie Devine and Suzie Bates told us how to improve building our innings and said if we focusing on beating one team at a time and forgetting who they are, we can play well.”
The Thailand team has already been busy winning hearts in Australia in the lead-up to the tournament and the cheery demeanour of the captain has had a lot to do with that.
“My family will be following me the whole tournament and they always tell me to do my best whenever I’m on the field. They say that ‘win or lose, it’s okay’, but the most important thing is they see me happy with a smile on my face,” she said.
Competing in a group which includes former Women’s T20 World Cup champions West Indies and England, Thailand will need to notch plenty of runs to keep up with the likes of Deandra Dottin and Danni Wyatt.
But improving his team’s batting has been at the forefront of coach Harshal Pathak’s plans ever since he took over the reins in 2018 - and he’s confident his changes will give his side the edge.
“Traditionally, Thailand has been a side very good at bowling and fielding so as a coach coming in, I had to make sure we were working harder on batting,” said Pathak. “I wanted to work on how to build the innings and bat for certain situations. We are definitely heading in the right direction and you can expect some exciting cricket from us.”
Follow our complete coverage of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 here.
(With ICC inputs)