The Sri Lankans felt the full weight of West Indies Women’s engine room as Hayley Matthews, Deandra Dottin and Stafanie Taylor propelled the hosts to an emphatic 83-run victory at the Darren Sammy Cricket Ground in Gros Islet, St Lucia tonight.
Batting first on winning the toss, West Indies Women made 187 for 5. In reply Sri Lanka were dismissed for 104 in 17.4 overs to concede the ICC World Twenty20 encounter.
Openers Dottin and Matthews put the Asians to the sword in a breathtaking partnership of 94 in just 9.4 overs. Matthews, getting most of the strike, slammed the Sri Lankan bowlers to all corners of the ground to the boisterous approval of arguably the biggest crowd of the tournament that numbered about 6 000.
None of the bowlers was spared as between them Dottin and Matthews clobbered 16 boundaries and two sixes. Matthews blazed to 62 off 36 balls with those two sixes – glorious lofted drives – and eight boundaries. She was pleasing on the eye with a back foot drive square of the wicket one of the shots of the night. Matthews was eventually dismissed by medium pacer Oshadi Ranasinghe, caught by Hasini Perera at point. She had earlier been dropped at the same position.
Dottin was joined by Taylor and these two continued the carnage in a brief 33-run partnership. Dottin would not make it to her half-century as on 49 she tried to turn a straight ball to leg for a single, missed and was out lbw to left-arm medium pacer Udeshika Prabodhani in the 13th over.
Taylor provided most of the punch over the rest of the innings even though Natasha McLean hit a six and a four in a quick-fire 17 before she was run out. The West Indies captain, all poise and purpose, struck four boundaries and two sixes in her classy 41 which was scored off a mere 25 balls. Taylor was dismissed off the penultimate ball and as if to punctuate the West Indies innings Britney Cooper hit the last ball of the innings for six.
West Indies’ total was their highest in World Cup competitions and just seven runs short of the highest score for this year’s tournament which was scored by India.
Faced with a stiff target that would have required early productivity from their opening batters, Sri Lanka ran into early trouble. In the third over with the score on 14, pacer Shakera Selman bowled Perera behind her back for 10. That quickly became 33 for 2 when 17-year-old all-rounder Kavisha Dilhari was run out for five. All the while captain Chamari Atapattu was trying to be the glue that held the side together in the face of adversity.
The Sri Lankans lost wickets at crucial times and as they did so, West Indies kept a firm grip on the run rate as well. The nail in the coffin for Sri Lanka eventually came when Atapattu was seventh out in the 14th over with the score on 88 for 7. The left-handed opener was responsible for half the score. That key wicket was taken by medium-pacer Chinelle Henry when a drive from the captain was superbly taken by a leaping Matthews at extra cover.
Matthews could not be kept out of the game as she took three wickets for 16 runs with her off-spin. She undermined the middle-order with the wickets of Nilakshi de Silva (11), Ama Kanchana (0) and Ranasinghe (1). The wickets of de Silva and Kanchana placed Matthews on a hat-trick but she could not join England’s Anya Shrubsole who had taken one earlier in the day.
After the match, Taylor praised her batters.
“I think we came to the party today in the batting area, but can’t say that for the fielding. We said that we just needed to apply and spend time at the crease. The reason for batting first was the thought that the pitch would keep low. It was a bit hard to choose bowlers (because of the options) but most of the time I just work with my instincts,” she said.
Atapattu said the powerplay at the top of the innings hurt Sri Lanka but added she was pleased with the way her team played in the competition.
“West Indies is a champion team playing with the conditions and their home crowd. We tried our best but their openers batted really well in the Powerplay, but I’m happy with the team. We planned certain things but it did not work tonight.
“We have experienced players and some young girls, just need some experience at this level. As a captain, I am happy with the team’s performance,” she said.
Matthews was predictably named Player of the Match.
West Indies now clash with England on Sunday.