Highly-rated New Zealand beaten by 7 wickets as West Indies perform well in all departments
West Indies opened its account at the ICC Women's World Twenty20 with an emphatic seven-wicket win over a formidable New Zealand side in a Group B encounter in Galle on Wednesday.
Chasing 118, West Indies was in trouble at 5 for 2 in two overs, with Tremayne Smartt and Shanel Daley both dismissed for ducks. It took the calm influence of Stafanie Taylor to steady the innings and bring some direction and purpose to the chase.
Taylor, who recently won the ICC Women's ODI Cricketer of the Year award, proved why she is considered one of the best in the game. She stitched together a crucial 82-run stand for the third wicket with Deandra Dottin, before being trapped in front of the stumps for 35 by Sophie Devine, who struck with her first delivery to give New Zealand an outside chance.
However, Dottin wasn't going to throw away the chance of taking her team through as she soon brought up her fifth T20I fifty in just 36 balls. The heartening sight from the West Indies point of view was her approach, which didn't change at any stage of the chase. Dottin’s unbeaten 58 was studded with six fours and two sixes.
Merissa Aguilleira, the captain, who walked in at the fall of Taylor’s wicket, merely rotated the strike to help the team inch closer, ending unbeaten on 10.
Earlier, West Indies, who opted to bowl, restricted New Zealand to 117 for 9 in 20 overs. New Zealand threatened to get close to 140 at one stage, but some outstanding ground fielding and catching from the West Indians thwarted New Zealand.
New Zealand was given a solid platform by Suzie Bates, the captain, and Amy Satterthwaite, who put on 37 runs for the opening wicket in under five overs. However, Aguilleira’s call to introduce spin in the form of Taylor turned out to be a masterstroke, as she struck in her first over to dismiss Satterthwaite.
Even as the slowness of the pitch became increasingly visible, the West Indies bowlers stuck to their task of bowling a disciplined line and length. They were rewarded when Sophie Devine (11) and Frances Mackay (2) departed in quick succession as New Zealand slipped from 63 for 1 to 66 for 3 in the 11th over.
Bates was going strong, but she wasn't helped by wickets tumbling at the other end. When she was dismissed in the 17th over for a well-crafted 32, New Zealand was by no means in a safe position at 91 for 6.
The highlight of the innings was an outstanding catch taken by Daley at deep backward square leg to dismiss Nicola Browne, who was more than capable of accelerating towards the end. That effort summed up West Indies' hunger and determination on a day when everything clicked.
For West Indies, Taylor, Anisa Mohammad and Shemaine Campbelle picked up two wickets apiece.