T20WWC: West Indies clinch thrilling opener

Hayley Matthews' heroics with the bat and ball outperformed New Zealand's efforts as the hosts were defeated by three runs in the ICC Women's World Cup opener at the Bay Oval.

T20WWC: West Indies clinch thrilling opener
Hayley Matthews stars with bat and ball, pic: ICC

PUNE: Hayley Matthews' heroics with the bat and ball outperformed New Zealand's efforts as the hosts were defeated by three runs in the ICC Women's World Cup opener at the Bay Oval.

Sophie Devine's spectacular century kept New Zealand's chase on track for the most part, but the West Indies came back superbly near the end to earn the first points on the 2022 ICC Women's Cricket World Cup table.

Katey Martin and Jess Kerr's quickfire 40-run partnership reduced it to run-a-ball for the final over, but New Zealand's wheels came off dramatically. Deandra Dottin bowled her first over of the game and held her composure to pick two wickets and force a run-out as West Indies won.

Hayley Matthews, scored 119 from 128 balls and took two wickets for 41 runs to complete a Player of the Match performance. Her batting effort aided the West Indies to a competitive 259/9.

The White Ferns were unlucky to lose a wicket early in their chase when Bates was run-out at the non-end striker's after a deflection off Chinelle Henry's outstretched fingers. Amelia Kerr and the captain saw the squad safely through to the finish of Powerplay.

Matthews, who was sensational with the bat, was also efficient with the ball, catching the in-form Amelia Kerr in front of the stumps with her second ball to break the 33-run partnership.

At that point, New Zealand needed to be cautious because they were still 213 runs away from victory. Amy Satterthwaite and captain Devine batted well to keep the scoreboard ticking.

Devine quickly reached her half-century, and New Zealand was in a strong position at the halfway stage. Meanwhile, Shamilia Connell had to walk off the field after injuring her fingers.

Anisa Mohammed turned the game on its head with two quick scalps, just as the partnership appeared to be at ease at the crease, needing less than six runs per over in the last 25 overs. In her following over, she sent Lea Tahuhu through the gate after trapping Satterthwaite leg before wicket for 31 runs.

The White Ferns' opener accelerated but continued losing partners at the other end - Maddy Green and Brooke Halliday walked back in short succession without causing too much trouble for the scorers before Katey Martin relieved the burden on her skipper with a few boundaries.

West Indies were sloppy in the field, losing multiple chances, and Devine took advantage of those reprieves in route to her sixth ODI century. It took a stroke of genius to dismiss the New Zealand captain, as Chinelle Henry grabbed a magnificent, tumbling return catch to finish a fantastic innings.

At the fall of the wicket, New Zealand still needed 45 from 35 balls. Jess Kerr took the attack to the bowlers and, along with Martin, reduced the equation to six runs in the final over.

Dottin delivered the goods for her team after being entrusted with bowling her first over in a crucial circumstance. She trapped Martin lbw off the first ball of the over and then snagged Kerr two balls later to reduce the score to four off two.

Hannah Rowe missed the penultimate delivery, and Fran Jonas was run-out at the non-striker's end in an effort to steal a bye, sparking wild celebrations from the West Indies squad.

New Zealand made some early headway after deciding to bowl, taking two wickets in the Powerplay. Deandra Dottin got the World Cup off with a bang, hitting three fours in the first over, but she was out for 12 when Tahuhu produced a leading edge.

Jess Kerr quickly dismissed Kycia Knight, who skied the ball into the palms of mid-off. Despite losing wickets at frequent intervals, West Indies concluded the Powerplay in a strong position, with Hayley Matthews scoring 29 of her team's 54 runs.

Matthews reached her fifty in the 18th over, and she and Stafanie Taylor contributed 66 runs for the third wicket. The batters used caution and aggression to keep the scoreboard ticking.

Devine turned to Tahuhu again, both hitters poised, and the move paid immediate dividends. Taylor edged the ball to the safe hands of Katey Martin behind the stumps while attempting to tickle the ball down to fine leg.

Matthews was once again part of a strong partnership, this time with Shemaine Campbelle — the pair put on 60 runs for the fourth wicket. The latter was fortunate to live after a catch was dropped, but she was finally caught by Amelia Kerr for 20.

Matthews eventually reached her century, her first in ICC Women's World Cups, and teed off. During her fascinating knock, the West Indies opener struck 16 fours and a big six, and most of New Zealand's bowlers were on the receiving end of the attack.

Jess Kerr's innings came to an end when Matthews holed out in the deep. The White Ferns took four wickets in the final four overs to restrict West Indies to 259/9.

Lea Tahuhu (3/57) was pricey in her nine overs, while Fran Jones (0/39 from six overs) also allowed the batting side to score at a rate faster than run-a-ball. In comparison, the Kerr sisters Jess (2/43) and Amelia (1/33) were frugal.

Edited - SportsAction / Inputs - Agency