St. Lucia: The West Indies women's team is on a mission to lift the spirits of Caribbean cricket fans following the exit of their male peers from the ICC World Twenty20 West Indies 2010 tournament.
Speaking on the eve of their much-anticipated semi-final clash with New Zealand in Saint Lucia, West Indies captain Merissa Aguilleira, today noted the hopes of the host region rest on their shoulders - and they are determined not to disappoint.
"Now that the men's team has gone out of the tournament we know we have to come out and represent the people of the West Indies in a big way. It's a great challenge and a great opportunity," she said following a practice session at Gros Islet Playing Field.
Her sentiments were echoed by coach, Sherwin Campbell, who is no stranger to big-match occasions, being a former West Indies opener.
"Obviously a lot of people were disappointed with the performance of the men on Tuesday night so we know we have to do our best for West Indies cricket and keep the West Indies flag flying. We are happy to have reached this far but we want to continue and do even better and get to the Final in Barbados," said Campbell.
Crowd support could be a significant factor as the Windies women tackle the White Ferns who were runners-up in last year's ICC World Twenty20 tournament in England. Mindful of that, Campbell is urging Saint Lucians to pack the Beausejour Cricket Ground to cheer on the home team which qualified for the Semi-Finals with impressive victories over South Africa and England before a narrow defeat to Australia in the Group Stage.
"In St. Kitts we got a lot of great support, so we would like to get that same kind of support from the fans in Saint Lucia as well. It's a big game and we want big numbers (of fans) to come out and be on our side," he stated.
So far things have gone to plan for the West Indies women and skipper Aguilleira would like nothing more than to close the tournament by hoisting the trophy come Sunday night at Kensington Oval in Barbados.
We put all the plans in place and we went out and performed in the first round," she observed. "It is now up to us to continue on this journey and look to take it all the way.