A superb all-round display from West Indies’s dependable player Hayley Matthews — 119 off 128 balls and 2/41 — helped the side score a nerve-wracking three-run victory over hosts New Zealand in the opening match of the ICC Women’s World Cup at the Bay Oval here on Friday.
The top-order batter first helped her side score a fighting 259/9 in the allotted 50 overs and then returned to take the prized wicket of Amelia Kerr and Brooke Halliday to emerge the ‘Player of the Match’.
New Zealand skipper Sophie Devine’s sensational century kept the hosts’ chase on track for the most part but West Indies fought back brilliantly towards the end to put the first points on the 2022 ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup table.
Katey Martin and Jess Kerr’s quick-fire 40-run partnership brought it down to run-a-ball for the last over but Deandra Dottin’s dramatic over changed the fortunes in no time. Dottin, bowling her first over of the game, held her nerve to pick two wickets and effect a run-out as West Indies emerged victorious.
The White Ferns were unlucky to lose a wicket early in their chase — Suzie Bates was run-out at the non-striker’s end after a deflection off the outstretched fingers of Chinelle Henry. Amelia Kerr and skipper Devine got the team through to the end of Powerplay without further harm.
However, Matthews was effective with the ball as well, trapping the in-form Amelia Kerr in front of the stumps off just her second ball to break the 33-run stand. Still 213 runs away from victory at that point, New Zealand had to adopt a cautious approach. Amy Satterthwaite and Devine kept the scoreboard ticking with good running between the wickets.
Devine soon brought up her half-century, and at the halfway point, New Zealand were in a competitive position. West Indies, meanwhile, had some fitness concerns with Shamilia Connell having to walk off the field after injuring her fingers while fielding.
Just when the pair started to look comfortable at the crease, needing under six runs per over in the last 25, spinner Anisa Mohammed turned the game on its head with two quick scalps. She trapped Satterthwaite leg-before wicket for 31 and then bowled Lea Tahuhu through the gate in her next over.
Devine continued to grind but kept losing partners at the other end — Maddy Green and Brooke Halliday walked back in quick succession without troubling the scorers too much before Katey Martin took the pressure off her skipper with a few boundaries.
West Indies were guilty of dropping several chances and Devine made full use of those reprieves en route to her sixth ODI hundred (108 off 127 balls). It took a moment of brilliance to dismiss the New Zealand captain as Chinelle Henry took a stunning return catch to bring an end to a great innings.
At the fall of the wicket, New Zealand still needed 45 from 35 balls. Jess Kerr took the attack to the bowlers and together with Martin, brought the equation down to six runs in the last over.
Bowling her first over in a crunch situation, Dottin delivered the goods as she trapped Martin lbw off the second ball of the over and then snared Kerr two balls later to bring it down to four off two.
Hannah Rowe missed the penultimate delivery and Fran Jonas, in an attempt to sneak a bye, was run-out at the non-striker’s end to spark celebrations from the West Indies team.
Brief scores: West Indies 259/9 in 50 overs (Hayley Matthews 119, Chedean Nation 36, Stafanie Taylor 30; Lea Tahuhu 3/57, Jess Kerr 2/43) beat New Zealand 256 in 49.5 overs (Sophie Devine 108, Amy Satterthwaite 31, Katey Martin 44; Hayley Matthews 2/41, Anisa Mohammed 2/60, Deandra Dottin 2/2) by three runs.