Australia clobbers Windies by 71 runs

Women’s ICC T20 tourney

West Indies celebrate a wicket (Romario Samaroo photo)

In a replay of the 2016 women’s World T20 finals, West Indies were not as lucky as they suffered a 71-run defeat after a batting collapse against Australia in the first semifinals of the tourney held last night at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Antigua.

Over 10,000 attendees had their hearts broken after watching Windies captain Stafanie Taylor win the toss and electing to bowl first but allowing the visitors to reach 142-5, while being  bundled out for 71 in 17.3 overs.

Shakera Selman with ball in hand opened from the Sir Andy Roberts End, troubling Australia’s Beth Mooney with a lifting delivery. Mooney pushed for a single off the second ball with Alyssa Healy, who entered the match with much speculation on her condition, getting the first boundary to square off of a long hop to end the first over with eight runs from it.

Selman was dispatched over mid-off in front of the Australian dugout but Mooney misjudged a push that popped into the hands of Natasha McLean from short mid-wicket.

A lot was happening in the field during the power play, with player of the match, Healy blasting the ball just short of Shemaine Campbelle and then dropping it just out the grasp of Shenel Henry at mid-wicket.

The three-time tournament winners, took 35 runs from the power play.

West Indies were tight in the first half of the innings, leaking just three fours and one six including the foundation of a Meg Lanning/ Healy partnership.

The second wicket stand of 50 between Lanning and Healy proved vital to the construction of the Australian innings with Healy muscling the ball throughout the partnership that took just 53 deliveries.

Healy tried one shot two many as she clapped Afy Fletcher for two boundaries in the 12th over and tried to sweep her only to have the ball pop into the hands of Shamilia Connel at fine leg for 46, her lowest total for the tournament. She faced just 38 balls, hitting a quartet of fours and one six along the way to becoming the first player in the tournament to amass 200 runs.

Lanning carried on to make 31 but when the West Indies’ fastest female bowler, Deandra Dottin, was introduced to the spin friendly wicket, she hurried the Australian captain and clipped the bails to send  her on her way.

The girls from Down Under, brought up their 100-run score in the 16th over as Elyse Villani swept Fletcher to the boundary but when she tried to pull the West Indies captain to mid-wicket, Britney Cooper did well to put in the dive and end her short stay at the crease.

Australia seemed to be in check on a track that looked difficult to bat on but in the penultimate over, Dottin was clubbed for three boundaries as Rachel Haynes put together an unbeaten 25-run cameo.

West Indies were rushed during the mandatory power play, taking just 26 runs but losing three crucial wickets along the way.

Hayley Matthews delicately tapped the ball in front of the stumps and attempted to get out the blocks but Healy snatched it on the first bounce and executed a brilliant run out for just five.

 Dottin tried to move across but was cramped for room, inside-edging the ball onto her pads before it knocked out her leg stump for 6.

Campbelle, who had been superb in the outfield, hooked Ellyse Perry straight to Molineux, the square leg fielder to see the Australian all-rounder pick up her 99th wicket and limit the title holder to 25-3 at the end of the fifth over.

Things got worse for the hosts as Natasha McLean, facing her second ball released her bottom hand  and pushed the ball just past the bowler, Delissa Kimmince and into the hands of Lanning.

No West Indian batter reached double figures, apart from Taylor’s 16 as she looked to take the fight to the opposition, stepping out her crease hoping to hoist Sophie Molineux over the ropes but only managing to slice to Georgia Wareham at mid-off.

 During the post-match interview, West Indies captain, Taylor said she felt they played their best XI after being asked if they missed a trick by not playing Anisa Mohammed on this wicket and winning the toss with a decision to bowl.

The Windies captain was adamant that it was the batting that didn’t fire, something they only did once in the tournament as well as allowing Australia to score too much in the final six overs.

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