“Expected Deandra to get off with the bat,” says Melissa Aguilleira about West Indies Women’s bowling star
England went into its ICC Women's World Twenty20 2014 opener against West Indies on Monday (March 24) on the back of a historic Ashes triumph in Australia in January.
The confidence in the team was sky high, but losing two key players prior to the event somewhat unsettled the winning combination. Holly Colvin, the left-arm spinner who was vital to England's scheme of things at the World T20 in 2012, opted out in search of an alternate career path, while Arran Brindle, one of their most reliable batters, announced her retirement last month.
It left Charlotte Edwards, the England captain, saddled with the massive challenge of getting the team together ahead of a vital tournament. England won both its warm-up games, but the batting fragility was exposed against Pakistan.
On Monday, England started poorly with the ball, conceding 87 off just 12 overs, but managed to pull things back to restrict West Indies to 133 for 7. With the bat, it started well but a couple of quick wickets is all it took for the middle order to cave in under sustained pressure.
Afterwards, Edwards was effusive in her praise for Deandra Dottin, who turned the game around by picking up four wickets as England fell short by nine runs. "It's very disappointing," said Edwards. "I was pleased with how we got ourselves back in the game especially after it looked like we would be chasing close to 160. We then had a collapse, but then credit to Deandra. I thought she bowled an excellent spell to hurt us. Having said that, I think we should be better than that.
"That spell where she dismissed Natalie Sciver and Tammy Beaumont in the space of two overs proved costly. The run rate started to escalate and of course my wicket was very crucial. I thought we left the lower order to do a bit too much."
What triggered the collapse, though, was the dismissal of Lydia Greenway after the England openers set the tempo by putting on 42 in five overs. Greenway, who walked in to bat at No. 3, looked to be in a bit of a hurry. After two powerful sweeps that found the fence, she attempted one shot too many and was bowled.
"We were going pretty well there, it was important to have a left-and-right combination and Greenway's dismissal was crucial," admitted Edwards. "It's hard not to tell someone not to play that kind of shot particularly when it's yielded a lot of success in the past. It's up to the individuals to learn from it. It's important for us to forget this loss quickly and hopefully draw on a few positives we had in the match, particularly the death bowling."
Merissa Aguilleira, the West Indies captain, looked positively radiant after the win, and in true Caribbean spirit, she made no bones about the fact that a win was a win and should be celebrated irrespective of how it was achieved in the end.
"I must say we have a group of energetic players who play with a lot of passion and pride, I was very happy. It was a good all-round effort," she said. "It's still early days in the tournament, there is a lot of scope for improvement, but as I said, our motto is 'moving in faith'. We all knew 133 was very defendable. It was a matter of placing faith in our bowlers and they delivered."
Aguilleira, while clarifying there was no serious injury concerns about Stafanie Taylor and Kycia Knight, who walked off during the West Indies fielding innings, turned her attention towards Dottin, whose four wickets was the clincher. "You just can't keep her out of the game, can you," smiled Aguilleira. "To be honest, we expected Deandra to get off with the bat, we were looking at 150, but these things happen. But again, we'll definitely keep working hard and be ready for the game against Bangladesh."