Windies top Group A after beating England in thriller

Deandra Dottin hits out during her top score of 46 against England in West Indies’ final preliminary match on Sunday.

GROS ISLET, St Lucia,  CMC – West Indies held their nerve to beat England by three wickets in a last-over thriller here last evening, topping Group A, securing precious momentum and setting up a blockbuster semi-final against Australia next Thursday.

Chasing a paltry 116 for victory at the Darren Sammy Cricket Stadium, West Indies were left needing five from the final over, and after two byes came off the first ball and Shemaine Campbelle holed out in the deep off the second, left-hander Kycia Knight calmly stroked the third ball from seamer Anya Shrubsole to the ropes at point to secure victory.

Player-of-the-Match Deandra Dottin set up the run chase with a robust 46 off 52 deliveries while Campbelle was superb in carving 45 off 42 balls to sustain the tempo of the innings.

Their knocks pulled the reigning champions out of trouble after they had slumped to three runs for two wickets in the second over, with Hayley Matthews (1) and captain Stafanie Taylor (0) both out cheaply.

Dottin had earlier made her mark with the ball, grabbing two for 21 from her four overs as England, asked to bat first in the top-of-the-table clash, were held to 115 for eight off their 20 overs.

 Sophia Dunkley struck 35 from 30 balls with three fours and a six and Shrubsole, 29 from 26 balls with two fours and a six, while opener Tammy Beaumont hit 23 from 28 deliveries.

Fast bowler Shakera Selman, who snatched two for 15 from her four overs, rattled England’s top order and left the visitors wobbling on 50 for six in the 11th over.

Danielle Wyatt holed out to mid-off for one off the fifth ball of the match from Selman and Amy Jones skied speedster Shamilia Connell to Taylor at cover for eight at 22 for two in the fourth over.

Natalie Sciver was adjudged caught behind off Selman for five on review before leg-spinner Afy Fletcher trapped Beaumont on her crease and had her lbw for five.

When captain Heather Knight played across a full length one from Dottin and was lbw for five and Britney Cooper threw down the stumps at the non-striker’s end to find Lauren Winfield (0) short of her ground, England were in turmoil.

Dunkley and Shrubsole rescued the innings, however, posting 58 off 46 deliveries to get their side past three figures.

England were quickly back in the game though when Shrubsole (3-10) bowled Matthews and Taylor in the space of four deliveries in the second over to turn the contest on its head.

But Dottin proved England’s nemesis, counter-attacking with a four and four sixes as she patched up the innings in a 68-run, third wicket stand with Campbelle, who counted four fours and a six.

For the second straight game, however, Dottin fell with a half-century in reach when she top-edged a sweep at left-arm spinner Kirstie Gordon and was taken at deep square by Wyatt in the 15th over.

Further drama ensued in the 17th over when Natasha McLean was bowled by left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone for eight, leaving the Windies on 90 for four.

Campbelle put on a vital 21 for the fifth wicket with Cooper who made seven before falling at the end of a dramatic penultimate over from pacer Sciver which cost nine runs.

Cooper inside-edged the first ball to the fine leg boundary, Dunkley grassed a skyer at mid-off off the fourth ball before Cooper finally fell to a direct hit by Lauren Winfield from short mid-wicket after wicketkeeper Amy Jones had floored another skyer off the last ball of the over.

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