MOUNT MAUNGANUI, New Zealand (AP):
Part-time bowler Deandra Dottin delivered a fearless final in which three wickets fell to give the West Indies a three-run victory over New Zealand on Friday in the opening match of the Women’s Cricket World Cup.
New Zealand came last on 254-7, chasing West Indies 259-9 and looking set to win the winningest chase in Women’s World Tournament history, but were sent off for 256 with a ball to the left.
Dottin, an opening hitter, had not played in the game until that time. In fact, she had not played in the last nine West Indies One Day Internationals or taken a wicket in the last three years. But she stepped up to take two for two in the final over.
Hayley Matthews, sent in an unknown role as Dottin’s opening partner and battling a hamstring strain, made 119 carries on 128 balls as she anchored the West Indies innings after New Zealand won the toss and chose to play.
In response, New Zealand captain Sophie Devine made 108 for 127 – her sixth century one-day international and second in a World Cup match – to allow New Zealand to take the game deep, even though it has always lagged behind the West Indies.
Devine was out, like Matthews, in 45th over; New Zealand were 215-7 and still 45 points from the win. Katey Martin made 44 and Jess Kerr 25 in a 40-run stand for the eighth wicket that swung the game in New Zealand’s favour.
Martin hit four balls on the last two balls of the 49th to send New Zealand into the final inning, needing six runs on six balls in what seemed like a favorable equation for the home side. With the West Indies short of a bowler after an injury to Shamilia Connell, Dottin rose to take the ball.
A single came from the first ball but Martin dropped his leg before the wicket on the next delivery, leaving New Zealand needing five out of four balls with two wickets in hand.
Hannah Rowe came into the slot and snatched a quick single, leaving New Zealand needing four runs on three balls.
Kerr fell on the next ball, caught by Chinelle Henry, to leave New Zealand four points clear of victory with two balls to go and the last batter, 17-year-old Fran Jonas, in the crease.
With the pressure Rowe and Jonas attempted to single from a ball that beat the bat and went straight to the keeper and Jonas was run out with one ball left.
Devine was still padded as she watched her hard work to keep New Zealand in the game unfold.
“I think all the credit should go to the West Indies,” Devine said. “I think the way Haley Matthews hit was brilliant.
“They put the game together well, but I thought we were right into the last over and you don’t get much more clutch than a bowler coming in to bowl the 50th over and doing what Dottin did. “
Matthews is usually at home at No.5 in the West Indies order where her punching power has earned her two previous centuries in one-day internationals outside of the World Cups. She was promoted at the last minute when regular flyhalf Rashada Williams was sidelined with a concussion.
With Dottin on Friday, Matthews led an early assault on the New Zealand bowlers which shook the confidence of the home side and kicked off the West Indies innings at racing pace. The West Indies’ first nine shots were boundaries.
Matthews continued his century with two for 41 from 10 overs in the New Zealand innings.
“Obviously a team like New Zealand is playing at home, for us to play against the crowd and show that the fight we just showed is really, really memorable,” Matthews said.