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March 7, 2009
West Indies made it to this World Cup on the back of their fifth-place finish in the previous one. After beating South Africa 2-1 in a one-day series immediately after the 2005 World Cup, West Indies vanished from the face of international cricket. They resurfaced only in 2008 - having to make up the number of matches played before the world tournament in Australia - with a tour of Europe, followed by Sri Lanka.
There was no rustiness in view on the first leg of their Europe trip - West Indies won all their matches against Ireland and Netherlands but lost to England. They also played impressively in Sri Lanka, losing a close series 3-2. But the young squad has not had a lot of time to train together before leaving for Australia.
Add to that, the retirement of their captain Nadine George and West Indies are facing a tougher challenge of qualifying for the 2013 edition. While the top four make it automatically, No. 5 and No. 6 have to play the qualifiers. This will also be West Indies' first trip to Australia and getting used to the conditions may take a while.
Know your competition
Australia: West Indies have played them twice since they began playing ODIs in 1979. The hosts are in top form and have a quality pace attack that the West Indies batsmen won't be used to facing. West Indies lost both their warm-ups - against New South Wales and England.
New Zealand: This team of big-hitters will be difficult to contain and will test West Indies' young bowling line-up.
South Africa: Having beaten them in the previous encounter, West Indies will have the upper hand. But South Africa made a better show in the warm-ups.
Stars of 2009
Seventeen-year old opener Stefanie Taylor is an explosive batsman who made 90 off 49 balls in her Twenty20 debut last year. She has two half-centuries from 10 ODIs and can be expected to give West Indies some solid starts.
Stacy-Ann King was West Indies' top run-getter in Sri Lanka with 124 runs from five Odis, with one half-century. She will play a vital anchoring role in the middle order.
Afy Fletcher can give important breakthroughs to her side with her offspin. She has taken nine wickets in her eight ODIs, with a best of 4 for 22.
Squad: Merissa Aguilleira (capt), Stefanie Taylor, Stacy-Ann King, Danielle Small, Afy Fletcher, Shanel Daley, Deandra Dottin, Geneille Greaves, Cordel Jack, Pamela Lavine, Debbie-Ann Lewis, Anisa Mohammed, Shakera Selman, Charlene Taitt.
Group fixturesMarch 8 - South Africa v West Indies, Newcastle
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