Mumbai: Led by an in-form captain Suzie Bates, former champions New Zealand will start favourites against the inconsistent West Indians in their Super Six match of the ICC Women`s Cricket World Cup at the Brabourne Stadium here on Monday.
With the top two teams from the Super Six stage ensuring themselves a place in the finals, 2000 champions New Zealand would try to stay atop to play in their second consecutive World Cup final.
The last edition`s runners up have been consistent so far with three convincing wins in four games. Captain and opener Suzie Bates has been in menacing form and is the top run scorer with 277 under her belt so far.
She notched up 102 against Australia, 73 against South Africa and 65 not out against Pakistan, and made 37 off 41 balls during their chase of a paltry 103 against Sri Lanka.
But the middle-order hasn`t been clicking that well for the Kiwis, and they would expect Sophie Devine, who cracked 145 to set her side`s easy win over South Africa, to come up with a similar knock against the Caribbean side.
The White Ferns would also depend on their bowlers to dismiss the opposition cheaply like they did against Sri Lanka (103), South Africa (170) and Pakistan (104).
The pace attack looks formidable with Sian Ruck (three wickets against Sri Lanka and four wickets against South Africa), Rachael Candy (a five-wicket haul against Pakistan) and Lea Tahuhu (four wickets against Sri Lanka).
With odds stacked against them, after three losses and one no result in their four previous four clashes against New Zealand, the West Indies cannot harbour any realistic hopes with their current inconsistent form.
The Merissa Aguilleira-led side has been erratic so far losing the campaign-opener by 105 runs to India, thumping Sri Lanka by 209 runs, losing to England by six wickets before winning by two wickets against South Africa.
The West Indies batting has been patchy and they made heavy weather of a reasonably easy chase before clinching a two-wicket victory over South Africa in their first Super Six match.
The bowling attack lacks sting as the medium pacers haven`t been able to pick up wickets at the start to restrict the opposition.
Opener Stafanie Taylor is the player in prime form for the Caribbean side and she has been wielding the bat well to score 255 runs.
They would expect her to produce the spectacular knock of 137-ball 171 she did against Sri Lanka, to get them over the line against New Zealand.
World record holder for the fastest 100 in T20s, Deandra Dottin will bolster the middle-order and try to put the opponents on the back foot.