Chances of Success Rating : 5.2/10 (6th)
On paper, West Indies should have a good shot at winning this World Cup. Their recent rise to the top of world cricket has been meteoric. They were finalists in the 2013 tournament - beating eventual champions Australia along the way - and last year they went one better and danced away with the World Twenty20 crown.
But that is on paper. The stark reality is that another tournament triumph is unlikely for this West Indies team.
Since the 2013 World Cup, they’ve suffered series whitewashes against England, New Zealand, Australia, and most recently India in November last year. They’ve also lost matches to Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Of course this is being a bit selective - they’ve had some successes, too - but no team can afford to slip up against the two bottom-ranked teams in a round robin tournament like this one. As a side, recent results would suggest that West Indies lack the consistency needed to win a 50-over World Cup.
They were hammered by England in their warm-up earlier this week, in a 6-wicket defeat that told a familiar story - only four batsmen making it into double figures: three of them Hayley Matthews, Stafanie Taylor and Deandra Dottin. It was Taylor and Matthews who carried their team over the line in last year’s final; Dottin’s power-hitting has rescued them from many a sticky situation. Of course Taylor is quite capable of winning matches single-handedly. Who can forget her blistering innings at Bristol in last year’s Super League, as Western Storm somehow pulled an impossible win out of the bag? But a batting line-up so reliant on a handful of players is problematic.
Question marks remain, too, over whether their relatively inexperienced opening partnership will be able to handle the the world’s top bowling attacks. Matthews has somehow failed to live up to all the hype around her performance in the 2016 WWT20 - she’s reached an international 50 just once in the last two years. Her opening partner Felicia Walters, spotted at a recent “emerging players” camp, is a total newbie to international cricket.
Bowling-wise they have a mix of youth and experience, including veteran of two World Cups and leading T20 wicket-taker in the world Anisa Mohammed. English pitches may also offer a lot to their 16 year old debutant fast bowler Qiana Joseph - but she has yet to be tested against international opponents.
Overall if Taylor and Dottin can perform consistently, in all those group stage matches - if Matthews can reach her potential - West Indies are in with a shot. But those are some pretty big “ifs”.