Defending a paltry total of 107, West Indies Women bowled and fielded as though their lives depended on it. The effort led to a resounding 31-run win over South Africa at the Darren Sammy Stadium in Gros Islet, St Lucia tonight.
Batting first on winning the toss, West Indies Women made 107 for 7 and playing inspirational cricket, they dismissed the Proteas women for a meagre 76 in 18.4 overs.
With a howling gale whistling behind her, Shabnim Ismail, one of the fastest bowlers in women’s cricket, blew away West Indies’ top order, but South Africa then later lost 9 wickets for 28 runs to concede defeat. The win took the defending champions to the top of the Group A points table and a step closer to the semi-finals.
Captain Stafanie Taylor, one of Ismail’s three wickets, overcame a neck injury and claimed a career-best 4 for 12 to tear up South Africa’s middle and lower order. She was backed up by electric fielding, highlighted by Deandra Dottin’s direct hit to run out Dane van Niekerk for 1. Dottin swooped in from point, collected the ball, threw down the stumps – all in one swift motion – to have Darren Sammy grooving in the stands at a ground that has been named after him. The night ended in similar revelry, with the West Indies women jiving with a packed crowd in Gros Islet.
South Africa had a strong chance to secure their first win over West Indies in the World T20 after limiting the hosts to a small total. They were still in with a strong chance when opener Lizelle Lee and No. 3 Marizanne Kapp put on a 31-run stand after weathering incisive new-ball bursts from Shakera Selman and Shamilia Connell.
A spectacular collapse, though, was then set in motion, when Dottin had Lee holing out to sweeper cover, where Britney Cooper pulled off an outstanding catch in the 11th over. In the next over, Dottin capitalized on a mix-up between van Niekerk and her partner Kapp, and caught the South Africa captain well short. Taylor’s loopy off-spin and two further run-outs hastened the end for South Africa. From 48 for 1, they crashed to 76 all out, which left Niekerk short of words at the post-match presentation.
In the early exchanges, it was Ismail, who had silenced the West Indies top order and the crowd. She struck with her fourth ball, having Hayley Matthews nicking off to slip via a deflection off the keeper. She then hit the deck with her next ball and removed Taylor for a golden duck. Then, when she had Dottin popping a catch to extra cover in her next over, West Indies were 22 for 3 in four overs.
Moseline Daniels snuck through the weak defences of Shermaine Campbelle in her first over to reduce West Indies to 29 for 4, but Natasha McLean with 28 and Kycia Knight with 32 staged a recovery with a 45-run partnership, the highest in the match. McLean was quite fluent through the off side, caressing Masabata Klass for fours through the covers and mid-off. Knight hit a higher gear only after McLean holed out in the 15th over, hoisting Daniels for a four and a six in the 18th.
She herself holed out in the next over, but tigerish bowling and fielding from West Indies made their total of 107 for 7 look a whole lot bigger.
Van Niekerk expressed her disappointment at the result. “ I am very disappointed and what can we say with a batting display like that. I can’t fault the bowlers and the batters aren’t doing any justice to the bowlers. We spoke about the full face of the bat, but we’re not doing it at the moment. We didn’t play against just the XI, we played against the whole crowd. Credit to them, they deserved the win.”
With the paltry score her side made, Taylor said they had to win the game with their fielding and bowling.
“We knew there weren’t enough runs on the board and we just wanted to bowl in good areas. I said to the girls we just have to go out there and bowl our hearts out and dive around. Fantastic to see this crowd,” Taylor said, while conceding that the West Indies Women needed to start making more runs in the tournament.