CHENNAI – West Indies Women won their opening ICC Women’s World Twenty20 contest at MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai today, defeating Pakistan by four runs in a thrilling contest.
Asked to bat first, West Indies posted 103 for 8, and in response, Pakistan finished on 99 for 5. There was a big scare when opening batter Javeria Khan caught pacy Shamilia Connell’s bouncer flush on the grille of her helmet, collapsed, and had to be taken off the ground. Fortunately, she was in good shape afterwards, as confirmed by tournament officials.
West Indies had come into the match on the back of a 3-0 clean sweep in T20 Internationals and a 4-1 victory in the One-Day International series against the same opposition in the Caribbean, making them the clear favourites for the contest.
But Pakistan were on the money from the start, cramping the West Indies batters for space, and not letting them score freely in the first five overs. The pressure led to a wicket, with Hayley Matthews looping a catch to Javeria off Anam Amin’s off-spin. Four balls later, Sadia Yousuf caught Shaquana Quintyne short of her crease in an attempt to steal a quick single, and the scoreboard read 31 for 2 after six overs.
Sensing an opportunity, Mir decided to employ an all-spin attack, and the move paid dividends, with Yousuf going past the defence of the dangerous Deandra Dottin (0) to further hurt West Indies.
A small but much-needed fourth-wicket partnership of 35 from 42 balls between Stafanie Taylor (40 in 48 balls) and Merissa Aguilleira (15 in 22) then took the West Indies score to 72 for 3 after 14 overs.
But a mix up between the two off the second ball of the 15th over meant Taylor had to go back, and three balls later, Aguilleira was back in the hut after hitting Yousuf straight to Nida Dar at deep mid-wicket, who celebrated with her signature Afridi-like pose, arms outstretched in the air.
The quick wickets left the lower middle-order to wage battle to get a competitive total on the board, but cameos from Stacy-Ann King and Shemaine Campbelle could only help West Indies set a moderate target.
Pakistan’s response was rattled by the scary incident, when the fifth ball of the chase – a sharp bouncer from Connell – hit Javeria, making her slump to the ground. Sidra Ameen, Javeria’s opening partner, gestured for a stretcher right away, and a team of paramedical experts came rushing into the field.
After two minutes of uncertainty, the player was taken off the field, and Bismah Maroof, the No. 3 batter, came out to the middle. Maroof and Ameen, visibly rattled by the accident, looked unsteady at the start, but soon calmed their nerves to script a crucial stand of 39 off 50 deliveries, before the latter departed for 20.
Anista Mohammed, the right-arm offspinner, accounted for Maroof and Aliya Riaz in the 11th over, and suddenly, Pakistan looked in a spot of bother, with the scoreboard reading 44 for 3 in 10.4 overs.
Muneeba Ali (15 in 16) and Sana Mir (18 in 26) kept Pakistan in the contest to the end, but a tight final over from Dottin sealed it for West Indies despite Asmavia Iqbal’s unbeaten 19 from 13 balls. Mohammed, with figures of 3 for 25 in four overs, was the best bowler for West Indies.
Pakistan next play India Women in New Delhi on Saturday, while West Indies stay back in Chennai to take on Bangladesh Women on Sunday.