The opening match of the ICC Women’s Championship at Trinidad resulted in a nail-biting game and was crucial on the road to qualify for the 2021 ICC Women’s World Cup.
Sri Lanka won the toss and chose to bat first.
There was a slow run-rate in the first 10 overs, ever since the Sri Lankan batters took to the field. The West Indies bowling kept the batswomen under check and built up the pressure. The crucial breakthrough came when the 1st wicket (Hansika) fell for 8 runs, but Sri Lanka had only managed to score a paltry 21 runs till then. Star player and aggressive opener, Atapattu managed to score a quick couple of runs to keep the batting side afloat, but it was not enough to sustain the Windies ladies bowling attack.
The Sri Lankan 2nd wicket partnership could only take the scoreboard past 63 when Atapattu fell for 25. There was so expectation on such a talented player, that after her departure the whole team started to tumble. The next 3 wickets fell at an interval of 10 runs, and 5 overs each. Matthews got the important wickets of Atapattu and other key batters like Weerakkody and Mendis. Mendis was the highest run scorer of the match.
The game’s momentum started to change and favored the Windies side from that moment onwards. At the end of 40 overs, The Sri Lankan players managed to put up 100 runs while losing 6 wickets.
However, Manodara (29 runs) kept contributing her part, and kept rotating the strike till the end of the entire innings, which was extremely necessary, and ended up with the team having a score of 137 on the board.
The West Indies were left to chase a meager target of 137 runs. Early wickets fell for the Windies women, as they started their innings with a runout and a wicket. The pressure was building on the host team, as Taylor and Knight fell cheaply for 1 and 2 runs respectively. But batswoman Matthews kept the scorecard ticking. During these circumstances, Matthews was hurt and could not continue her game.
Aguillera and Knight then hit some fabulous knocks to complete the proceedings, by hitting 32 and 21 runs respectively. Sri Lanka could not come back after a fantastic start to the innings and ended up losing the game. The middle order of West Indies women saved the match and didn’t allow victory to slip out at the last moment.
Hayley Matthews was named the Player of the match.
In the first innings, there were also some fielding gaps by the West Indies, which they can work on. Sri Lanka has to have a full revamp, and their comeback has to be by working out on all sections of the game like fielding, batting, and bowling.