Hayley Matthews helps Windies storm into semi-finals

Women’s world T20

(ESPN) Sri Lanka were caned by Hayley Matthews, first with the bat at the start of the match, and then with the ball at the end as they crashed out of the tournament with an 83-run loss against West Indies. The result also meant that the last two semi-final qualification spots were sealed, with England and West Indies going through from Group A with a game each to spare.

Matthews was imperious in the Powerplay after West Indies had elected to bat, racing to 49 as she and Deandra Dottin made 72 runs in the first six overs. Sri Lanka had conceded that many against Bangladesh in 20 overs during their last game at the same venue. With three changes, most crucially the ouster of seamer Sripali Weerakkody, they struggled to settle in the face of West Indies’ assault against an attack that was almost exclusively made of spinners.

The spinners found no control – the flighted deliveries were lofted straight or over covers, and every time they went flat, they were carved behind square on the off side. Udeshika Prabhodani – their frontline seamer, and the only one in the XI on Friday – got the ball to move around as she had all tournament. But against significantly more aggressive and powerful batsmen, she struggled for support from the other end.

The victorious West Indies women celebrating last night

For the most part, Sri Lanka’s strategy was to get their spinners to bowl full and wide outside off with a packed field on that side, but Matthews circumvented that challenge with the use of her feet to hit straight over the bowlers, or to bring her reach into play with heaves over midwicket. She also managed to do this with a decent control rate, offering the first chance after she had made her 25-ball fifty; that chance was dropped at point, but Hasini Perera held on in that same position the next time Matthews went aerial.

Dottin hadn’t quite hit the straps in Matthews’ company, despite striking comfortably over run-a-ball; but within two overs of their partnership ending on 94, she moved from 27 off 22 to 47 off 32.

That momentum was kept even after her dismissal for 49, with promoted No. 4 Natasha McClean making no effort to settle in. She went after the bowling straight away, hitting a six and a four in her brief knock before she was run out by Atapattu, who got a direct hit from deep midwicket at the non-striker’s end. It was Sri Lanka’s only inspired moment on the field. For Atapattu, in particular, it was an anomaly: the Sri Lankan captain had mysteriously strived all evening to have five fielders inside the circle even after the Powerplay. Several runs that could have been saved were scored through cover and past mid-off, particularly by Stafanie Taylor who accelerated late into the innings to get West Indies to 187 after a dull between overs 16 and 18 where they hit no boundaries.

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