Women’s T20 World Cup: Hayley Matthews steers West Indies to victory over Ireland

Women's T20 World Cup: Hayley Matthews steers West Indies to victory over Ireland
Women’s T20 World Cup: Hayley Matthews steers West Indies to victory over Ireland

Hayley Matthews played a captain’s knock and guided the West Indies to a nerve-jangling six-wicket win over Ireland in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup.

The Windies skipper struck a decisive 66 not out and was assisted by Chinelle Henry’s critical contribution for a victory with just a single ball remaining on Friday night.

Orla Prendergast’s impressive 61 had fired Ireland to a competitive total of 137 for nine as Shamilia Connell starred with the ball for the West Indies.

But Matthews and Henry (34) delivered a second innings masterclass to patiently chase down the target and help the West Indies, without Stafanie Taylor owing to a back injury, bounce back from defeats against India and England in Group B.

Laura Delany won the toss and elected to bat, but her side suffered an almost immediate blow when Amy Hunter was dismissed in the second over. Trishan Holder held a simple catch after the Irish opener had miscued and top-edged a Connell delivery.

But Prendergast and Gaby Lewis set about building the foundations for a recovery, putting on 90 for the second wicket before Prendergast went for a swashbuckling 61 – off just 47 balls – in the 13th over.

The West Indies then struck twice in quick succession as Lewis (38) and Louise Little, who was unable to trouble the scorers, were removed in the space of three Karishma Ramharack deliveries.

Delany and Arlene Kelly then went in similarly speedy fashion as Afy Fletcher’s leg breaks helped derail the end of the Irish innings. Eimear Richardson was caught and bowled by Matthews before Leah Paul and wicketkeeper Mary Waldron were removed from the final two balls of the innings.

That left the Windies with a total of 138 to win as openers Matthews and Rashada Williams responded with a steady start throughout the opening overs. But Ireland grabbed the breakthrough from the penultimate ball of the powerplay when wicketkeeper Williams was run out after a sudden mix-up with her captain.

Incoming batter Campbelle survived a review shortly after but was soon dismissed by Delany when the Irish skipper’s crafty medium pacers trapped her in front for just eight.

Matthews and Henry continued to chip away at the total, however, teeing up a tantalising final five overs with a composed third wicket partnership.

Kelly dropped Henry at mid-off during an economical-looking 16th over before the Windies No.4 made her pay with a much-needed boundary off the final delivery.

Henry looked in the mood to finish the job as quickly as possible but she was soon dismissed by Paul as Ireland, who spilt several chances throughout a frenetic second innings, finally held on to a catch.

That propelled Shabika Gajnabi into the heat of the Cape Town cauldron, who played an important brief cameo before being run out after another piece of confusion with Matthews. But the Windies skipper held her nerve to clatter Delany over the covers for four and fire her side to victory.

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