T20: India Women win rain-affected contest to go 4-0 up
SUMMARY: India Women 50-7 from nine overs (Pooja Vastrakar 10, Hayley Matthews 3-13, Afy Fletcher 2-2, Sheneta Grimmond 2-10) v West Indies Women 45-5 from nine overs (Hayley Matthews 11, Chinelle Henry 11, Natasha McLean 10, Anuja Patil 2-8, Deepti Sharma 1-8, Radha Yadav 1-8)
By Avenash Ramzan
India Women are now one game away from a series sweep after topping West Indies Women by five runs in a rain-affected nail-biter at Providence on Sunday afternoon.
The fourth T20 game was reduced to a nine-over contest after rain played spoilsport, giving the groundstaff a busy day at the office.
West Indies put up arguably their best bowling performance of the series, restricting India to 50-7, but their batters didn’t match that effort, being limited to 45-5 in the 800th Women’s T20 International game.
Hayley Matthews (11), Chinelle Henry (11) and Natasha McLean (10) got starts, but India’s spin-based attack, which has given West Indies trouble all series, again delivered the goods.
With 13 required off the final over and seven wickets in hand, off-spinner Anuja Patil conceded just seven runs and plucked out two wickets to hand India a 4-0 series lead.
She had splendid figures of 2-8, while Deepti Sharma and Radha Yadav had identical returns of 1-8.
The players arrived at the venue ready for a 13:30h start, but had to wait two and half hours as groundstaff ran back and forth with the covers following some persistent afternoon showers.
West Indies skipper Anisa Mohammed called correctly at the toss and elected to bowl first in heavy overcast condition and under the floodlights switched on at 16:00h.
It was a golden move by the Trinidadian as India’s quest for quick runs was met by a triple strike by off-spinner Matthews, who rocked the top-order, leaving the tourists 20-3 by the third over.
Shafali Verma, the hard-hitting 15-year-old with back-to-back fifties in the series, was caught on the boundary after hitting the only six of the innings, and Matthews delivered a double blow in the third over.
Jemimah Rodrigues, with a match-winning knock in the last game, was caught on the long-on boundary and three balls later, Veda Krishnamurthy drove the ball straight to mid-off.
Leg-spinner Afy Fletcher and Guyanese off-spinner Sheneta Grimmond then turned the screws, combining figures of 4-0-12-4, including an astonishing 17 dot balls.
Fletcher was outstanding, claiming 2-2, while Grimmond picked up her first two international wickets, ending with 2-10. Pooja Vastrakar was the only player into double-figures, scoring 10.
All told, West Indies delivered 28 dot balls and allowed just three fours and a six.
In the end, that and Matthews’ Player-of-the-Match award were the positives for the 2016 World T20 champions on a gloomy mid-November Sunday.
Wednesday (November 20) provides the final opportunity for West Indies to taste victory in the series; failure to do so will hand India, by miles the better team this series, a deserving 5-0 scoreline.