Spinners, Maddy Green headline another thriller as New Zealand wrap T20I series 4-1
New Zealand celebrate a wicket © Getty Images
New Zealand rode to yet another win in a last ball finish thanks to contributions from Maddy Green and Amelia Kerr to wrap the five-match T20I series 4-1 at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound, Antigua on Thursday (October 6). Earlier, West Indies once again struggled against the visitors’ spinners to post a moderate total on the board with Suzie Bates headlining the bowling efforts.
After New Zealand put West Indies in, the first innings looked like following the pattern from the previous matches. Fran Jonas started the bowling effort with a maiden and proceeded to bowl two more frugal overs.
However, Hayley Matthews took on the pacers and hit Lea Tahuhu for a couple of sixes and West Indies ended the power play on 28 for one. Molly Penfold – on her T20I debut – bowled a few good balls before Matthews took her for eight runs from the last three balls of her second over.
Despite Kyshona Knight retiring hurt and Rashada Williams getting out early to Eden Carson, Matthews brought up her sixth fifty in T20Is - she also has a century in the format – with a single off the off spinner.
New Zealand were immediately rewarded when they brought in Bates’ off spin and the veteran struck with the wicket of Natasha McLean and then took out Shabika Gajnabi.
Re-introduction of Jonas into the attack accounted for the big wicket of Matthews as the West Indies skipper fell for 56 off 54 balls. That wicket meant, the hosts couldn’t finish with a flourish and their innings petered out with wickets falling in regular intervals. Matthews was the only batter who reached double figures during their effort with ten extras being the second best.
At one stage West Indies were 63 for one and could have had a great second half with a set Matthews, instead the batters struggled against the spin bowling of New Zealand once again and eventually finished on 101 for the loss of eight wickets.
For New Zealand, spinners picked up seven of the eight wickets to fall with Knight on her return to the crease getting run out. Bates ended with admirable figures of 3 for 10 from her three overs, while Jonas and Carson had two wickets apiece.
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Chasing 102 to make it four wins on the trot in the series, New Zealand openers once again struggled to get a move on in the slow-low surface. Only two boundaries came in the power play and the visitors scored only 25 runs in it.
Post the power play, Bates fell while trying to force the pace against the leg spin of Afy Fletcher. She scored only 13 off 20 balls before getting bowled. Brooke Halliday, who was promoted to number three on her return to the XI, also departed early when Sheneta Grimmond castled her for just one.
Although Sophie Devine hit Grimmond for another boundary, she also walked back to the pavilion when she was run out at the non-striking end when the ball deflected from the bowler Fletcher’s hand onto the stumps.
From 42 for three, New Zealand needed the experienced duo of Kerr and Green to put their hands up. Both took their guard outside the off stump against the West Indies spinners. While Kerr used her feet and sweeps to gather runs, Green stayed deep in the crease and also pulled out a reverse sweep for four.
The pair added 25 runs in the next four overs to reduce the target to 35 from the last six overs. West Indies brought in Gajnabi into the attack in pursuit of a wicket and although New Zealand started the over well with seven runs off the first three balls including a boundary from Kerr, the seamer had the last laugh when she had the allrounder caught at the boundary for 26.
Green was dropped in the 17th over and New Zealand needed 18 runs from the last three overs. Ten runs came from the Matthews’ final over with Green hitting her down the ground for a boundary. Grimmond conceded only three in the penultimate over and it came down to the final delivery of the match and Green kept her calm to take New Zealand home.
Brief Scores: West Indies 101/8 in 20 overs (Hayley Matthews 56; Suzie Bates 3/10, Fran Jonas 2/8) lost to New Zealand 102/5 n 20 overs (Maddy Green 32*, Amelia Kerr 26; Shabika Gajnabi 1/19) by 5 wickets