The exuberant Caribbean celebrations were back on the cricket field as the West Indian women declared themselves the best in the world. This happened as West Indies perfected promise into performance and convincingly outsmarted the seemingly invincible Australians to win the maiden ICC World T20 women’s title here at the Eden Gardens on Sunday. The Caribbean women, fired by a brilliant knock of 66 from opener Hayley Matthews, gave a fine display of discipline and talent to outplay the champion of the previous three editions by eight wickets in the final. > Read: Skipper Taylor's comments
Australian captain Meg Lanning won the toss and opted to bat on a hot and humid afternoon. The decision was seemingly prompted by the desire to build up a big total on a grassy wicket that appeared to offer scope for good stroke making. But a disciplined bowling by the West Indian spinners pegged the Australian batters back in their crease for most of the occasion. The Southern Stars managed to put on 148 for five in the allotted quota of overs giving West Indies a target that looked moderate on an equitable surface offering even bounce and slow turn.
Introducing spin early, West Indies found success in the second over when Alyssa Healy offered a straight forward catch to Matthews off her own bowling. Matthews fired a few full-tosses unable to get the length of her intended off-breaks right and Healy departed mishitting the last full toss of the over. The two captains expressed surprise at the presence of grass after the toss and West Indies skipper Stafanie Taylor seemed to have read the surface right by suggesting that the grass is “deceiving”. The wicket did afford slow turn helping the West Indian spinners like off-spinner Anisa Mohammed and leg-break bowler Shaquana Quintyne make the Aussie batters struggle for runs.
The Australians were helped by two good partnerships in the beginning with Elyse Villani and captain Lanning (52, 49b, 8x4) scripting a 77-run partnership in 60 balls for the second wicket. After Villani got out making a well-constructed 52 (37b, 9x4) at the score of 92, Lanning got together in a 42-run partnership with Ellyse Perry (28) to push the score to 134 by the 18th over. But the Australians could not do much slogging in the end failing to tackle the West Indian bowlers who stuck to their task. The last over by Deandra Dottin fetched just one run and two wickets as the Australians fumbled in the end.
Hayley sets the foundation
Australia, which was eyeing its fourth successive World T20 title, was taken off its intended path by Matthews who seemed to take a leaf out of the book of her counterpart in the men’s team, Chris Gayle. The revelation of her talent came at the right time as the perky opener hit six boundaries and three big sixes to take the wind out of the Australians’ sail. Matthews shared a record partnership of 120 runs with captain Taylor, who scored a responsible 59 off 57 balls, to set the foundation for the win.
Australia: Alyssa Healy c & b Matthews4 (5b), Elyse Villani c Taylor b Dottin52 (37b, 9x4), Meg Lanning lbw b Anisa Mohammed 52 (49b, 8x4), Ellyse Perry lbw b Dottin 28 (23b, 2x6), Alex Blackwell(not out) 3 (5b), Erin Osborne(run out) 1(1B), Jess Jonassen (not out) 0 (0b); Extras (b-4, lb-2, w-3): 9,
Total (for five wickets in 20 overs): 149;
Fall of wickets: 1-15 (Healy), 2-92 (Villani), 3-134 (Lanning), 4-147 (Perry), 5-147 (Osborne);
West Indies bowling: Shamilia Connell 2-0-15-0, Hayley Matthews2-0-13-1, Stafanie Taylor 3-0-26-0, Deandra Dottin 4-0-33-2, Afy Fletcher 1-0-9-0, Anisa Mohammed 4-0-19-1, Shaquana Quintyne 4-0-27-0.
West Indies: Hayley Matthews c Blackwell b Beams 66 (45b, 6x4, 3x6), Stafanie Taylor c Jonassen b Farrell 59 (57b, 6x4), Deandra Dottin (not out) 18 (12b, 2x4), Britney Cooper(not out) 3 (3b);
Extras (lb-2, w-1): 3;
Total (for two wickets in 19.3 overs): 149;
Fall of wickets: 1-120 (Matthews), 2-144 (Taylor);
Australia bowling: Jess Jonassen 4-0-26-0, Ellyse Perry 3.3-0-27-0, Megan Schutt 3-0-26-0, Rene Farrell4-0-35-1, Kristen Beams 4-0-27-1, Erin Osborne 1-0-6-0.