By Shashank Kishore in Sylhet
Despite a good performance by its bowlers, poor shot selection leads to England Women going down by nine runs
When Deandra Dottin walked off vehemently shaking her head after a mistimed slog, she clearly didn’t know if she would have a shot at redemption. But she made use of her first opportunity with the ball to help West Indies Women beat England Women by nine runs to begin its quest for a maiden ICC World Twenty20 title with a bang at the Sylhet Divisional Stadium on Monday(March 25).
West Indies frittered away the advantage despite getting into a position from where it could call the shots after being put in to bat, losing seven wickets for 46 runs to finish with 133 for 7, at least 20 short of what it looked set to get. But Dottin's slower variations proved a little too hot for a jittery England middle order, the batters letting the pressure get to them by miscalculating a straightforward chase. The innings came to grinding halt at 124 for 9 in 20 overs.
West Indies suffered a brain freeze in the middle of its innings, as the batters seemed to be caught between consolidation and attack after an 87-run opening stand between Kycia Knight and Stafanie Taylor, which ended when Kycia Knight mistimed a heave to be caught at mid-off when on 43 to give England a much needed lift in the 13th over.
That brought Dottin to the crease, but her stay was short-lived as she slogged a length ball across the line to find the bucket-like hands of Anya Shrubsole at midwicket. Kyshona Knight backed away to carve one through the off-side only to find her stumps knocked back and Taylor, who batted beautifully for 56, was caught in the deep attempting to clear the ropes.
Natalie Sciver, who accounted for three of those wickets, ensured England went into the halfway mark with momentum firmly on its side.
The target looked easy when Charlotte Edwards and Sarah Taylor blazed away at the start. Edwards, who at 34 is among the oldest players in the tournament, showed why she's still feared the world over, lending an artistic touch to her knock of 43 that was studded with seven fours.
The first sign of spin forced Edwards to attack as she started off with a succession of boundaries. Shanel Daley, the offspinner, was first crunched through cover and then pulled twice in emphatic fashion. In the next over, Taylor, considered by many as one of the most exciting wicketkeeper-batters in the game, punched the first ball she faced off Tremayne Smart to the cover boundary and followed that up with a delightful pull to set the tempo.
West Indies' miseries were compounded by injuries to Taylor and Kycia Knight, both twisting their ankles, and the England openers had put on 42 in five overs before a wicket came against the run of play. Edwards was guilty of ball watching and failed to respond to her partner's call to leave Taylor stranded halfway down the pitch and Dottin hit the stumps from mid-on.
West Indies was then helped by some poor shot selection by Lydia Greenway. The left-hander played a couple of powerful sweeps off Daley before an attempted slog across the line resulted in her downfall on 14. Suddenly the pressure was on from nowhere. Runs started to dry up and a false shot invited a cry of anguish.
Melissa Aguilleira played her slow bowling options well and brought on her trump card Dottin in the 12th over, and Dottin didn't disappoint. Sciver played across the line to be bowled for 7, and two overs later Dottin uprooted Tammy Beaumont's middle stump.
Edwards looked on helplessly, and the pressure to up the scoring finally told as she was out caught behind to Dottin while attempting to run the ball down to third man. The belief was suddenly back in the West Indies camp.
With the asking rate skyrocketing, England was running short of options and the lack of muscle lower down the order didn’t help its cause either. Jenny Gunn was out lbw to a wild slog as Dottin charged across on a celebratory run, only to be stopped by her team-mates, who looked concerned about her picking up an injury in the process.
England went into the last over needing 18 runs. Shrubsole smashed a boundary wide of long-on to provide a glimmer of hope, but the West Indians held their nerves, with Aguilleira effecting a run out to send back Shrubsole. Shakera Salmon then sealed the deal with a full and straight delivery that went past Jodie Dibble's swinging back to trigger wild celebrations in the West Indies camp.