WI, England women vie for spot in semis

With back-to-back matches in Dharamsala, there has been an overuse of the ground and the curator hasn't had time to work on the pitches. The women cricketers, who have had to play on two-paced pitches with uneven bounce so far, are however hoping for a better surface for the Thursday game in the hill station.

England will look to seal its semifinal berth with a win over West Indies in Dharamsala on Thursday.   -  AP

Women’s cricket is at crossroads. Big Bash in Australia is a welcome development for women’s cricket and the ongoing ICC World Twenty20 is expected to showcase the positive side of it. Australia and England are in the forefront of this campaign with encouraging signs from West Indies and India.

If only women’s cricket gained further appreciation and recognition for their brand. It is a situation where the girls want to strive and excel, never looking to match the skills of the men, but pleading for playing conditions that allow them to put on display some of their exciting prowess in the various aspects of the game.

“It can be hard to shine on difficult pitches where the bounce is uneven and the surface two-paced,” lamented India skipper Mithali Raj after the loss to England on Tuesday night. The pitch indeed was not the best for a game of T20 but the curator has had his share of problems this season.

“There has been an overuse of the ground and we have hardly had time to work on the pitches,” defended Sunil Chauhan, who is respected for his work. “Conditions were not easy for T20,” insisted Heather Knight of England. As Mithali reminded, “It is imperative to provide good pitches if the idea is to promote women’s cricket. Such pitches make our job of playing good cricket very difficult.”

England and West Indies take the field at the same venue on Thursday in their last league fixtures. Both have four points each from two victories and would obviously love to cement a semifinal berth with a win here. England should back itself after the hard-earned win over India even as West Indies can’t be underestimated. The stage is set for them to give their best provided the teams are offered a decent playing surface.

The teams (from):

England: Charlotte Edwards (capt.), Tammy Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Georgia Elwiss, Natasha Farrant, Lydia Greenway, Rebecca Grundy, Jenny Gunn, Danielle Hazell, Amy Jones, Heather Knight, Natalie Sciver, Anya Shrubsole, Sarah Taylor and Danielle Wyatt.

West Indies: Stafanie Taylor (capt), Shakera Selman, Merissa Aguilleira, Shemaine Campbelle, Shamilia Connell, Britney Cooper, Deandra Dottin, Afy Fletcher, Kycia Knight, Stacy Ann-King, Kyshona Knight, Hayley Matthews, Anisa Mohammed, Shaquana Quintyne and Tremayne Smartt

Play starts at 7.30 p.m .