Gayle bats for champs Windies Women to repeat

Sunday, June 24, 2018

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WEST Indies batting superstar Christopher Gayle has expressed confidence that the regional side can defend their ICC Women's World Twenty20 (T20) on home soil in November.

The West Indies, who upset Australia by eight wickets in the 2016 Women's T20 final in India, will host games in Guyana, St Lucia and Antigua.

The men's team — with Gayle playing an important role — was also successful in India, beating England in dramatic fashion in the championship match to complete a historic T20 double.

“[It] was great when we both won [men's and women's teams] back in India few years ago so, you know me, I'm backing them to win it again,” Gayle said during the just-concluded regional T20 tournament which Jamaica went on to win.

“I can see from the way they are playing here in the domestic tournament that everyone is motivated.”

He encouraged the players to feed off the fan support that he is sure they will get.

“[It is] great to be hosting the ICC Women's World T20 in the West Indies. This is great news for our girls, and even better to be defending the trophy at home. We all know what the Caribbean culture is like. They will have the fans backing them and I urge them to enjoy the moment,” advised the big-hitting left-hand batsman.

“Having been a part of the double championship in India was fantastic. We know how to win titles, and I urge [captain] Stafanie [Taylor] and the girls to give their best. She now has a chance to lift the trophy at home, I know she can handle the pressure, and she has the backing of Deandra Dottin, Hayley Matthews, Merissa Aguilleira and some other really good players,” Gayle added.

Jennifer Nero, tournament director for the 2018 Women's World T20, is promising an event that could surpass all others.

“We are pushing to make this tournament exceptional, to make it the best T20 tournament ever for women,” Nero, the lone female on the Cricket West Indies board of directors, told the Jamaica Observer.

“It's incredible being defending champions and having the opportunity to host the tournament. We are hoping that people of the region come out and really support our women during this tournament,” continued Nero, who hails from St Kitts.

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