In a somewhat dramatic end of the fixture, West Indies stood head up as the experienced skipper Hayley Matthews once again came up to the faced to guide her team to the splendid victory against Ireland by 6 wickets and 1 ball remaining. For her outstanding and unbeaten 66-run knock she grabbed away the Player of the Match, too.
Ireland won the toss and chose to bat first to face the West Indies bowling attack that was led by Chinelle Henry. A tight first over with just a single was followed by Amy Hunter’s early wicket in the second over’s third ball as Shamilia Connell brought the lead for her team. A poised and confident Orla Prendergast was out in the middle of the wickets gallantly bringing the first four of the match.
With further two superfluous boundaries and a series of singles between Prendergast and Gaby Lewis, the powerplay summarized at 33 for the loss of 1. And here Lewis accumulated some confidence to bring the innings on track with two fence-touching smashes in the seventh over and one in the following over.
The duo looked great with their much-needed combination in the match that was eventually building the highest ever partnership for Ireland Women in a T20 World Cup match. Just as the innings went halfway of the maestro of the duo, Prendergast launched the first maximum of the match into the stands on the first ball of the eleventh over.
A four more from Prendergast’s bat in the twelfth over and Connell brought the breakthrough for West Indies dismissing the former at a historic knock of 61 off just odd 47 balls. Despite a big jolt, Lewis continued to pull the runs on the board with a boundary in the thirteenth over followed by quick rotation of strikes with the help of Eimear Richardson, before setting for the pavilion in the sixteenth over at 38 off 34.
The sixteenth over witnessed another wicket of Louise Little at a mere duck, putting Ireland on the backfoot after a great start. On one hand, Richardson was trying her best to ease the building pressure of back-to-back wickets, but the other end kept letting loose on the wickets of Laura Delany and Arlene Kelly in the eighteenth over, both at 1 and 0, respectively.
The last two overs could only read a few singles and three wickets, first one coming as Hayley Matthews stroke hard to get Richardson undone at 15 off 19 balls. The other two in the queue were Leah Paul (1 off 3) and Mary Waldron (5 off 7) to conclude the West Indies innings at a defendable total of 137 for the loss of 9.
Jane Maguire was ready with the new ball to tackle down the West Indies openers Hayley Matthews and Rashada Williams. Ireland’s misfield gifted the opponents and Matthews their first boundary of the chase on the very second ball of the innings.
Williams too was off the mark with a fantastic four in the second over. Keeping the rate low in the next two over, Williams tried to fix the board with two back-to-back boundaries before falling short early in the chase to reach the crease.
The powerplay summarized at just 28 with Willliam’s loss. Matthews, on the other hand, kept it simple with rotation of the strike and two consecutive boundaries in the eighth over but Shemaine Campbelle couldn’t partner much in the long run as she met her LBW at just 8 off 10 balls.
New down, Chinelle Henry tried to push the chase a bit with her attempt to clear the fence for a four in the eleventh over before Matthews bringing the first six of the chase and Henry contemplating with a four in the same fourteenth over.
With a wonderfully skilled smash, Matthews scored her much valuable 42-ball half century, earlier being dropped on 8. The breath-taking partnership of the Hayley-Henry duo kept spearheading towards the target, but the latter had to depart after a fantastic knock of 34 off 28 balls, supporting the backbone of the chase.
As Ireland had not much instances left to finish things off in their favor, the new down Shabika Gajnabi, grasping her responsibilities well, went across to bring two consecutive boundaries for her team in the nineteenth over.
The last over needed 6 and it seemed there was much drama left for West Indies as Gajnabi departed getting run out. But who could resist Matthews this night from stealing the winning runs with a splendid boundary to walk past the target at 140 for the loss of 4.