Spirited Windies light up their house party

Ananya Upendran
New Update
Spirited Windies light up their house party

Celebrations from the West Indies team. ©ICC

Round three of the Group A matches in the 2018 ICC Women’s World Twenty20 at the Darren Sammy Cricket Ground in St. Lucia on Wednesday (November 14) saw two low-scoring encounters. Once again, it was the fast bowlers who dominated proceedings, pitching the ball up, allowing it to swing and also getting a fair bit of carry. They accounted for 12 of the 34 wickets to fall in both matches combined. The batters struggled to find their timing through the day. Unable to rotate strike, they let the pressure pile on, eventually getting out in an attempt to play the big shot.

Sri Lanka beat Bangladesh by 25 runs in the first game of the day on the back of Shashikala Siriwardene’s all-round magnificence, and later, Windies, buoyed by the crowd support, put in an inspired bowling and fielding performance to overcome South Africa by 31 runs.


Sri Lanka v Bangladesh

1. St. Lucia and the first ball duck

There is something about St. Lucia and first ball ducks. When England faced Bangladesh on Monday, Danielle Wyatt was dismissed by Salma Khatun off the first ball of the innings, and on Wednesday, that happened twice. Both Bangladesh and Sri Lanka struck off the first ball of the innings— Jahanara Alam bowling Yasoda Mendis around the legs, and Udeshika Prabodhani trapping Sanjida Islam with an in-ducker. Neither team was able to fully recover from the setback, but it was Sri Lanka who salvaged something through their experienced middle-order.


2. Shashikala Siriwardene show

Siriwardene’s wonderfully compiled 33-ball 31 anchored Sri Lanka’s innings, guiding them to a competitive total of 97 for 7. The 33-year-old stalwart, batted intelligently, moving around the crease to put the bowlers off, and making sure to hit her attacking strokes with the wind. She peppered the extra-cover region with some exquisite shots both through and over the field, but it was her powerful swipe over the mid-wicket fence off Alam that was most memorable.

With the ball, the off-spinner— normally someone who turns the ball a lot— used the wind to drift the ball away from the batters, forcing them to reach for it. Siriwardene varied her pace beautifully, allowing the ball to hang tantalisingly in the air before it dipped and beat the batters in the air. She finished with impressive figures of 2 for 10 to take Sri Lanka over the line.


3. Bangladesh’s body language

Alam set the tone for Bangladesh with the ball with an early strike, but what was more impressive about the fast bowler was her discipline. Even though she was getting the ball to swing away nicely, Alam did not get carried away and try to bowl a ‘magic ball.’ She simply stuck to her guns,: pitching the ball up, allowing it to swing and forcing the batters to try something different.

Bangladesh were up and about on the field. The bowlers stuck to their plans, kept the Sri Lankan batters quiet and were well backed up in the field. Their intensity was clear through the innings with every ball being chased down by three fielders.

On the contrary, Sri Lanka seemed nervous. They stuttered between the wickets, played a lot of dot balls, and took a long time to understand how strong the wind was— many of the batters got caught out trying to hit against the breeze. Once they neared the 80-run mark however, they seemed to relax a little and took a more aggressive route.


4. Bangladesh’s batting woes continue

Bangladesh suffered a double blow in the first over of their chase, losing both Islam and Fargana Hoque to Prabodhani’s swing. Ayasha Rahman and Nigar Sultana Joty tried to dig them out of the hole, but in an attempt to steady the innings the pair played out a string of dot balls as the pressure mounted. Joty in particular was very sedate at the crease— in stark contrast to her approach in 2016.

In the previous edition of the World T20 in India, the right-hander was one of Bangladesh’s more impressive batters— moving around the crease, playing the sweep shot to good effect and trying to knock the bowlers off their line. She scored an unbeaten 25-ball 27 against India, and was very proactive at the crease, willing to take on the spinners and always on the lookout for runs. On Wednesday however, Joty often tamely pushed the ball back to the bowler, and seemed stuck in the crease. Although she was Bangladesh’s highest scorer with 20 runs, her approach reflected the entire team’s lack of confidence with the bat.

While their bowling has been impressive, Bangladesh’s batting has fallen apart. Their king pins over the last 12 months— Rumana Ahmed, Shamima Sultana and Fargana Hoque— have all failed in the Windies meaning the job of the batters is even harder than before.


West Indies v South Africa

1. South Africa fail to apply the choke

“We definitely know that they have got a lot of quality cricketers in their side, but I think the key with the West Indies is that if we can get on top of them early, we will need to kind of try and knock them down while we are ahead,” Mignon du Preez told ICC ahead of the match. “They tend to be a bit… They drag their feet, and you can almost see body language-wise that you are on top, and I think when we see that we need to take charge and capitalise on that.”

As has become habit in St Lucia, in the second game as well, it was the fast bowlers who set the tone— Shabnim Ismail and Marizanne Kapp pushing Windies on the back foot straight away by reducing them to 22 for 3 in the fourth over. Moseline Daniels didn’t let up, dismissing Shemaine Campbelle to leave Windies tottering at 29 for 4 — Hayley Matthews, Stafanie Taylor and Deandra Dottin all back in the hut.

The time was ripe for South Africa to go for the kill, but instead, they seemed to take their foot off the throat. When Dane van Niekerk could have come in to bowl herself, she chose to throw the ball to a more unknown quantity in Tumi Sekhukhune. The right-arm pacer leaked 15 runs in her only over giving Windies just the boost they needed. Natasha McLean and Kycia Knight’s 45-run stand steered their team to a total of 107 for 7 — a total South Africa would have backed themselves to chase.


2. Dot ball pressure

As Darren Sammy danced in the stands, sang along and cheered the women on, Taylor’s Windies team put in one of their most inspired bowling and fielding performances in recent times. Shakera Selman and Shamilia Connell, the pacers, kept the South African batters on a tight leash through the power play. They hit hard lengths, generating extra bounce and made sure not to pitch anything in the batters’ arc.

Much like Bangladesh, South Africa too failed to pick up the singles and twos, instead playing out dot balls, thus allowing Windies into the game. Laura Wolvaardt struggled to get bat on ball, wafting at balls outside off stump, and failing to make a connection. Lizelle Lee, who seemed very conscious of hitting her cut shot to the ground, also couldn’t break the shackles. She scratched around for a 34-ball 24, but never seemed comfortable in the centre.

Kapp’s innings was much the same— a couple of brilliant strokes in the middle of what was a strangely paced knock. Her 26 kept South Africa in the hunt for a while, but she failed to get any support from the rest of the line-up and by the time she chose to go on the attack, South Africa seemed to have too much to do with only the bowlers left.


3. Dottin’s run out and West Indies flawless fielding

In the 2016 World T20 semifinal against New Zealand in Mumbai, it was Deandra Dottin’s moment of brilliance in the field to run out Sophie Devine that turned the game in West Indies favour. On Wednesday night, Dottin produced another piece of brilliance— a one handed pick up and throw from point to run out van Niekerk with a direct hit at the striker’s end. It was the moment that turned the game in the home team’s favour, as the pressure continued to build on the visitors.

Dottin’s run out may have taken the cake, but Windies were brilliant in the field through their 20 overs— taking every chance that came their way, and creating run out opportunities as well. They were upbeat, chirpy, and seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves. Chinelle Henry was exceptional in the outfield, taking a splendid catch at long-on to dismiss Kapp just when she was threatening to break free.