Lee-Ann Kirby top-scored in her first appearance for West Indies Women in five years but the effort proved in vain as the Caribbean side suffered a narrow two-run defeat to India Women in their final official warm-up match for the T20 World Cup today.
Asked to chase a modest 108 for victory at the Allan Border Playing Field, West Indies came up short despite Kirby’s attractive 42 from 41 balls at the top of the order.
Hayley Matthews, pushed down to number four, stroked a brisk 25 from 21 balls, but her dismissal in the final over saw the Windies lose the momentum necessary to get over the line.
Needing 11 runs from the final over, West Indies got seven from the first three balls to install themselves as favourites for the win, with Chinelle Henry taking a couple from the first delivery, smashing a boundary off the second and scampering a single of the third.
But with four runs needed from the last three balls, Matthews was caught at the wicket off leg-spinner Poonam Yadav and new batsman Shemaine Campbelle put Henry back on strike with a quick single off the fifth ball.
West Indies required three runs from the last ball but Henry perished to give Poonam (3-20) her third wicket of the innings.
Opting to bat first earlier, India recovered from 17 for three in the third over to reach 107 for eight off their 20 overs.
Deepti Sharma with 21, was the only one in the top six to pass 20 and the Asian powerhouses needed Shikha Pandey’s cameo 16-ball unbeaten 24 to pass triple figures.
Fast bowler Shamilia Connell, with two for 20 from four superb overs, accounted for both openers cheaply but Deepti and captain Harmanpreet Kaur (11) put on 30 for the fourth wicket to stabilise the innings.
But once off-spinner Anisa Mohammed (2-16) removed Kaur in the 11th over, five wickets tumbled for 33 runs to leave India wobbling on 80 for eight in the 18th over.
Pandey then blasted three fours and a six in an unbroken ninth-wicket stand with Poonam (4 not out), worth 27, to gather India precious runs at the end.
Faced with a straightforward target, the 32-year-old Kirby, a surprise recall for the tournament, gave West Indies a solid but cautious start by posting 23 for the first wicket with Britney Cooper – who spent 18 balls over her single run – before adding a further 34 for the second wicket with captain Stafanie Taylor (16).
Kirby’s dismissal, bowled by Deepti in the 14th over, sparked a slide that saw the Windies lose four quick wickets for 10 runs in the space of 21 balls.
Matthews and Henry then combined in a 37-run, sixth-wicket partnership which took their side to the brink of victory. (CMC)