West Indies beats defending champion England in Women’s World Cup thriller

Hayley Matthews and Deandra Dottin were at the forefront of West Indies’ dramatic seven-run win over England in Dunedin.

West Indies’ Shamilia Connell (centre), Anisa Mohammed (right) and Hayley Matthews celebrate the dismissal of England’s Danni Wyatt.   -  AFP

Hayley Matthews and Deandra Dottin again were at the centre of the action as West Indies pulled off a dramatic upset win at the Women’s Cricket World Cup on Wednesday, beating defending champion England by seven runs at Dunedin, New Zealand.

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The West Indies edged host New Zealand by three runs in its opening match on Sunday with Matthews making 119 and Dottin bowling a thrilling final over in which three wickets fell.

On Wednesday, Matthews made 45 and Dottin 31 in an 81-run opening partnership which set West Indies on course to 225 for 6 as it batted first on winning the toss. Matthews then took 2 for 40 as England was bowled out for 218 in 47.4 overs, falling just short in a run chase for the second match in a row.

In its first match, England fell only 12 runs short as it chased Australia’s mammoth 310 for 3. While West Indies has moved up to second place behind Australia in the tournament, England now is winless after two matches and in desperate need of a win when it next plays South Africa.

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England seemed to be heading towards a victory on Wednesday when Sophie Eccleston and Kate Cross combined in a 61-run partnership for the ninth wicket. At the start of the 48th over, England was 217 for 8 and needed only nine runs to win with 18 balls remaining. But Cross was cruelly run out while backing up at the non-striker’s end and No. 11 Anya Shrubsole was bowled two balls later by Anisa Mohammed as West Indies again secured victory in a dramatic final over.

‘Nerve-wracking’

“This isn’t something that I like. It’s a bit nerve-wracking for me,” West Indies captain Stafanie Taylor said. “But it’s pleasing that we turned out on the good side.

“For us, we try our very best every time we go out to play. We try to play our best game and that’s what the coaches tell us.”

Breathtaking catch

It was Dottin who once again provided what may be the longest-lasting memory of the match, a breathtaking catch at backward point to dismiss England opener Lauren Winfield-Hill for 12. Winfield-Hill cut a ball from Shamilia Connell hard and wide of the fielder but Dottin dived full length and clasped the ball one-handed at shoulder height. The catch was one of the high-points of a see-sawing match in which both teams played themselves into strong positions, suffered setbacks and rallied again.

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West Indies was on course for a higher total than it achieved when Dottin and Matthews guided it to 81 for 1 after the 20th over. But Ecclestone bowled the 21st over in which three wickets fell, including those of Dottin and Matthews. The cascade of wickets changed the tenor of the match, even more when Kycia Knight was out soon after for six, leaving the West Indies 98 for 4.

Shemaine Campbelle and Chedean Nation led the recovery with a superb partnership of 123 for the fifth wicket in which Campbelle made 66 and Nation 49 not out.

England, in turn, was in trouble after the loss of Winfield-Hill, then captain Heather Knight (5) and Nat Sciver (2), both of whom fell to Matthews. Sciver made an unbeaten 109 from 79 balls as England fell 12 runs short of Australia in its opening match.

England was 94 for 5 when Tammy Beaumont was out for 46 in the 26th over but Danni Wyatt and Sophia Dunkley came to its rescue with a partnership of 60 for the sixth wicket. Just as the match had begun to turn in England’s favour Dunkley was out for 38 and Wyatt for 33 within the space of three balls, leaving England 156 for 8. Ecclestone and Cross then took England within sight of victory again but its chase unravelled in the final over.

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