The 2013 finalists will be looking to recover from their loss against the defending champions
• India skipper Mithali Raj: “All the games are going to be very close and intense.”
• West Indies batter Chedean Nation: “We know we have work to do but the girls are working really hard in the nets.”
• Match will be available on Hotstar in India and, ESPN Caribbean and Espnplay.com in the West Indies
India captain Mithali Raj insists her side is in a confident mood after its opening victory over host England, as it prepares to face the West Indies in Taunton on Thursday.
India scored an impressive 281 for three in its ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 opener against England, with openers Poonam Raut (86) and Smriti Mandhana (90) leading the way with the bat. It was the highest score the country has ever put on when batting first and Raj believes that will give her side plenty of confidence for the rest of the tournament.
Deepti Sharma also took three for 47 as India bowled England out for 246, yet the skipper is adamant her side will improve as the ICC Women’s World Cup progresses – starting against West Indies in Taunton.
Raj said: “We won against the hosts in the World Cup when we have only four or five girls who have played in a World Cup before – for the rest, it was their first World Cup.
“So considering all those factors, it’s great that the team has done well but it’s only the first game.
“We still have six more games in the group stage, so I just hope the girls continue this form. All games are going to be very close and intense. I hope that the team really improves over the coming matches.”
Raj was particularly pleased with how her opening batters went about their job against England, as Raut and Mandhana put on 144 before the loss of the first wicket, seeing out over half the team’s overs.
She added: “They (Raut and Mandhana) just played each ball on its merit and kept going to 25 overs. Half of our overs were played by our openers, which is a great stand and we are now looking for similar opening partnerships in the coming games.
“If you have a solid opening partnership then the middle order can carry on from there, which makes it much easier to post 250 and above. That’s always a good score in a game of women’s cricket.”
For the West Indies, the losing finalist from the 2013 event and the resigning ICC Women's World Twenty20 champion, it knows it will need to improve its 50-over game if it is to progress beyond the group stage in the tournament.
Hayley Matthews top scored for West Indies with 46 as it was bowled out for 204 in its eight-wicket loss to Australia in Taunton. And batter Chedean Nation knows the West Indies must concentrate on building partnerships in order to post a more competitive total.
Nation said: “We need to focus on partnerships. We saw the Australians got one big partnership at the top [171 between Beth Mooney and Nicole Bolton] but unfortunately we didn’t capitalise on our partnerships.
“Hopefully we can do that against India and it can make a difference.
“We know we have work to do but the girls are working really hard in the nets and it’s just unfortunate we ended up on the losing side against Australia, but we’ll bounce back for sure against India.”
Squads (to be selected from):
India: Mithali Raj (captain), Ekta Bisht, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Jhulan Goswami, Mansi Joshi, Harmanpreet Kaur, Veda Krishnamurthy, Smriti Mandhana, Mona Meshram, Nuzhat Parween, Shikha Pandey, Punam Raut, Deepti Sharma, Sushma Verma and Poonam Yadav
West Indies: Stafanie Taylor (captain), Merissa Aguilleira, Reniece Boyce, Shamilia Connell, Shanel Daley, Deandra Dottin, Afy Fletcher, Qiana Joseph, Kyshona Knight, Hayley Matthews, Anisa Mohammed, Chedean Nation, Akeira Peters, Shakera Selman and Felicia Walters.
Umpires: Shaun George and Claire Polosak
Match referee: Steve Bernard