VIJAYAWADA, India – West Indies Women have returned the favour.
After being trounced by their hosts in the preceding One-Day International series, West Indies Women defeated India Women by 15 runs to complete a 3-0 sweep of the Twenty20 International series, at the Dr. Gokaraju Laila Gangaraju ACA Cricket Ground in Mulapadu near Vijayawada Tuesday.
A solid half-century opening partnership between Hayley Matthews and captain Stafanie Taylor laid the foundation for West Indies 139 for four in 20 overs after they won the toss and elected to bat.
Their bowlers then suppressed the Indian run chase, restricting them to 124 for three in 20 overs despite a fighting unbeaten half-century stand between Veda Krishnamurthy and Harmanpreet Kaur.
Matthews and Taylor powered the early part in the innings for the visitors by adding 61 runs for the first wicket in 6.4 overs. Matthews dominated the partnership with a 22-ball 47 that included seven fours and one six before she was caught behind. Taylor batted throughout the innings to finish not out on 44 and picking up four boundaries in the process.
The Windies Women skipper also featured in two crucial partnerships, putting on 16 with Kycia Knight and 11 with Britney Cooper.
The hosts suffered an early setback when opener Vellaswamy Vanitha was run out by Taylor without scoring off the first ball of the innings.
Their innings plunged into further chaos when they lost another two wickets and stumbled to 32 for three. Krishnamurthy and Kaur stayed together to the end of the match, adding 92 runs for the fourth wicket. Krishnamurthy scored a boundary-less 40-ball 31, while Kaur struck three fours and three sixes in her 51-ball 60.
Deandra Dottin and Matthews picked up a wicket each for West Indies to contain India, who fell 15 runs short with seven wickets intact.
Afterwards Taylor said the memories from their success earlier in the year helped them brush aside the 50-over World Cup qualification disappointment and approach the T20Is on a confident note.
“We know that we are T20 champions and we did well earlier in this year. We had that confidence… that we could actually go out there and put in that hard work and come out victorious,” Taylor said.
“For most of the girls it’s like an easy switch; some of us take one or two games though but, I think, as a team we know that we actually have that side where we can play T20 games (better) and we switch on quite comfortably,” she added.
What made the clean sweep sweeter were the familiar hands that guided them to it. Prodigious talent Matthews sent the packed Mulapadu stadium down the memory lane with a near repeat of her World T20 final heroics.
Taylor hailed the youngster for unsettling the Indians’ plans early on with her fearless hitting.
“That was fantastic and it was definitely similar,” Taylor laughed when asked if Matthews’s stroke play reminded the captain, watching from the non-striker’s end, of the historic night at Eden Gardens.
“Hayley is that kind of person who could keep you on your toes and you are thinking: ‘okay, what next, what should you bowl?’ That’s what she did today. She had the bowlers guessing today.”
Asked if she offered any advice to the youngster, Taylor said the plan was to let Matthews bat with all the freedom she needed.
“Well, I guide her. I didn’t really tell her exactly what to do. I just try to play that role where I am trying to guide her throughout her innings. She had that momentum, you know, so I let her express herself,” she said.
“As an 18-year old she is brilliant. She has a long way to go and, I think, that if she continues going like this, she will definitely be someone to look out for in the future,” the skipper added.
Taylor herself has had a phenomenal run in the T20Is. The 25-year-old skipper single-handedly dismantled India’s bowling in the first game with a counter-attacking 51-ball 90 to script a comfortable six-wicket win. Since then, she’s played a captain’s knock in both the following matches to anchor her team’s innings and guide them to winning totals with a pair of 40s.
Taylor said a clear understanding of her role at the top of the order helps her execute the responsibility entrusted on her.
“If you know that you are the anchor person, [you are] quite crucial in the T20s; where [you should] try to bat as much as 15 overs. So, that’s been my position, being at the top. I know that if I can get the team to at least, say, 100-115 at about 15 [overs], we have hitters who can come and finish the job. So, it is crucial for me to try to be there at that time,” she concluded.