WI Women lose it
The tears told the story, West Indies’ dream of repeating as ICC Women’s World Twenty20 champions over.
And their exit from the tournament was something of a nightmare.
The Caribbean girls crashed to defeat by 71 runs against Australia in a one-sided semi-final at the Vivian Richards Stadium last night after making heavy weather of a target of 143.
They could only manage 71 – their lowest total of the tournament in which they had played impressively to win four successive matches in the group stage.
As West Indies headed towards defeat, a television image of a despondent captain Stafanie Taylor summed up the disappointment that was felt by an expectant region that was rallying around the defending champions.
It was a bitter pill to swallow for some of the girls who found it difficult to hold back tears when it was confirmed that they would not retain the title they won two years ago in India.
They confronted a pitch that was on the slow side and found it tough to cope with a spin-based attack.
“We didn’t bat properly in the chase,” Taylor admitted. “We came into the game with a lot of confidence. It was just one of those off days.
“I want to thank all the fans in St Lucia, Guyana and here for turning up and supporting us. We’re sorry that we couldn’t get past the line.”
In spite of the defeat, the legendary Sir Vivian Richards applauded the team after the match.
West Indies made a promising start to their chase, scoring ten runs from the first over before it all went downhill.
The trouble started in the second over when Hayley Matthews, their only player with a half-century in the tournament, was run out by an alert wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy.
Her opening partner, Deandra Dottin, their leading run-scorer, followed in the next over, bowled by a ball that cut back a lot more than she bargained for.
Thereafter, it was a steady flow of wickets with most of the players paying the price for trying to get after the bowling.
After ten overs, it was 44 for four with West Indies in with just a slight chance and lot depending on their captain Taylor who looked reasonably assured in scoring 16.
That hope vanished from the very next ball when the one-time world’s top all-rounder perished to a catch at deep mid-off.
It was the beginning of the end and her dismissal was the first in a slump in which the last six wickets fell for 27.
Choosing to field on winning the toss, West Indies were always under pressure to contain the Aussies despite pacer Shakera Selman claiming a wicket in the third over.
By then, 20 runs were already on the board and Australia were lifted to their total by a second-wicket partnership of 51 between Player Of The Match Alyssa Healy, who made 46 off 38 balls and captain Meg Lanning, who supported with 31 off 39 balls.
Australia scored 47 off the last five overs to push up to their challenging total. They were able to score freely against Dottin, the leading wicket-taker ahead of the semi-finals and the Barbadian’s two overs cost 23.
Fellow Barbadian Shamilia Connell sent down two overs for nine runs with the new ball, but was not recalled.
Australia captain Lanning praised her team’s effort.
“We were so ready for tonight’s game. It’s a very happy group but we know there’s one more game to go. Conditions were tough, batting-wise.
“We only needed a couple of wickets to get going with the ball,” she said.(HG)