Saturday, April 20, 2024

Windies humbled in opener by dominant Aussies


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TAUNTON, England – Out-of-sorts West Indies Women proved no match for World champions Australia Women and crashed to a heavy eight-wicket defeat, as they opened their ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup on a disappointing note here Monday.

They opted to bat first but were dismissed for 204 in the 48th over, with teenaged opener Hayley Matthews top-scoring with 46, captain Stafanie Taylor getting 45 and Chedean Nation, 39.

All-rounder Deandra Dottin chipped in with a brisk 29 but veteran seamer Ellyse Perry grabbed three for 47 while leg-spinner Kristen Beams (2-30) and left-arm spinner Jess Jonassen (2-39) claimed two wickets apiece to cripple the Windies innings.

The Caribbean side were well placed at one stage on 123 for two in the 33rd over but failed to kick on and lost their last eight wickets for 81 runs.

In reply, opener Nicole Bolton struck her third One-Day International hundred – a delightful, unbeaten 107 – as the Aussies cantered to their target in the 39th over without raising a sweat.

The left-hander hit 14 boundaries off 116 balls, adding 171 in a first wicket stand with opening partner Beth Mooney whose 70 required 85 deliveries and included seven fours and a six.

Off-spinner Taylor claimed two for 33 but the Windies bowling lacked edge and their fielding effort was ordinary, especially late in the innings as frustrations grew over the productive opening stand.

Heading into the contest here on the backs of five straight defeats in warm-ups, the Windies were always facing a tough challenge against the clinical Aussies and played true to predictions.

The 19-year-old Matthews accounted for much of West Indies’ early momentum, putting on 34 for the first wicket with Felicia Walters (7) and 52 for the second wicket with Nation.

Walters, on ODI debut, laboured for 30 deliveries before pulling Perry to Elyse Villani in frustration, to depart in the 11th over.

Matthews and Nation steadied the innings but their partnership hardly rattled the Aussies as it required 80 deliveries and Windies were still short of three figures at the half-way stage.

All told, Matthews faced 63 deliveries and counted seven fours and appeared headed for her fifth ODI fifty when she gifted her wicket, bowled loosely driving down the wrong line at Jonassen.

Nation, who faced 73 balls and hit two fours and a six, was joined by Taylor and they put on a further 37, again without pressuring the Aussies.

With the tempo needing a boost, Nation whipped Beams to Alex Blackwell at short mid-wicket in the 33rd over, to set the Windies back.

Dottin arrived to play a typical cameo in adding 34 for the fourth wicket with Taylor. She smashed six boundaries off a mere 20 balls and was accelerating the innings nicely when she missed a drive at Perry and lost her off stump in the 37th over.

The innings then declined quickly as former skipper Merissa Aguilleira holed out to cover for one off seamer Megan Schutt in the 39th before the last recognised batsman Shanel Daley miscued a Beams full toss to long on to perish for six in the 41st.

Taylor tried to keep the innings together but holed out in the deep in the 46th over after facing 57 balls and counting a four and a six.

Australia cruised in reply as Bolton and Mooney removed any doubt about the result with their dominant opening stand off just 181 deliveries.

The Windies struggled badly and their only bright spark came when Matthews took a brilliant running catch in the deep to dismiss captain Meg Lanning in the 35th over for 12.

West Indies take on India on Thursday in their second match of the tournament. (CMC)



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