50-over World Cup: Superb Matthews, magical Dottin spur West Indies Women to winning start
SUMMARY: West Indies 259-9 from 50 overs (Hayley Matthews 119, Cheadan Nation 36, Stafanie Taylor 30, Lea Tahuhu 3-57, Jess Kerr 2-43) beat New Zealand 256 (Sophie Devine 108, Katie Martin 44, Amy Satterthwaite 31, Deandra Dottin 2-2, Hayley Matthews 2-41, Anisa Mohammed 2-60) by three runs
Hayley Matthews inspired West Indies to an upset victory over hosts New Zealand in a tense opening match of the Women’s Cricket World Cup in Tauranga.
Matthews struck a sparkling 119 to propel West Indies to 259-9 after they were asked to bat in ideal conditions at the picturesque Bay Oval.
Though New Zealand captain Sophie Devine made a century of her own, New Zealand were rarely on top of the chase, partly thanks to Matthews claiming 2-41 with her off-spin.
After Devine was brilliantly caught and bowled for 108 by Chinelle Henry, wicketkeeper Katey Martin was left to marshal the tail.
Martin’s hitting got the equation down to six from the final over, only for Deandra Dottin to take the ball for the first time and trap Martin lbw for 44 with a pinpoint yorker.
Dottin then had Jess Kerr caught at mid-off and when Fran Jonas was run out off the next ball, West Indies had won by three runs.
It was a suitably thrilling curtain-raiser to a tournament delayed for a year by the COVID-19 pandemic, whetting the appetite for the remaining 30 games up to the final in Christchurch on April 3.
Magic Matthews and Dottin inspire West Indies
Matthews and Dottin were stars of the triumph at the 2016 T20 World Cup, but West Indies have been a shadow of that side since – they won only two games at the last 50-over World Cup in 2017.
However, with legendary fast bowler Courtney Walsh in charge, this was a resurgent display, sparked by Matthews’ glorious innings.
Along with opening partner Dottin, Matthews immediately attacked the New Zealand bowling with sweet timing and classical strokeplay.
She struck 16 fours and a six, receiving support from captain Stafanie Taylor, who made 30, Shemain Campbelle’s 20 and 36 by Chedean Nation.
West Indies were hampered in the field by five dropped catches – two of which reprieved Devine, who also could have been run out – and they looked to have wasted their chance in the face of Martin’s late assault.
But Dottin, a superb death bowler hampered by a shoulder injury in recent years, dramatically demanded the ball and made a match-winning impact.
Martin was pinned by a searing in-swinger, Kerr miscued to fall for 25 and 17-year-old Jonas was run out without facing after being sent back to the non-striker’s end.
It is a hugely disappointing result for New Zealand, who are likely to by vying with South Africa and India for two of the semi-final places.
But they can take heart from England at the last World Cup. The hosts suffered a surprise defeat by India in their first match, only to go on to be crowned champions. (BBC Sport)