The ICC Women’s World T20 2018 found all its four semi-finalists by Friday as the Windies and England booked their spots, joining Australia and India. In two one-sided games of different tempo, both teams registered wins at a venue that finally lived up to its high-scoring reputation.
The millionth ball in women’s international cricket was sent down in the second game, and a hat-trick taken in the first, on a day when the Windies stole the show with their batting. After barely getting past 100 in their last two games, their batting finally clicked, helping them post their highest ever T20I score. The weekend will see two top-of-the-table clashes to decide the line-up of the top four.
Windies v Sri Lanka:
The pitch at the Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium seemed hard and dry after a few days of sunshine, and that helped the Windies banish their batting blues. After the defending champions won the toss and batted first, Hayley Matthews and Deandra Dottin put up a belligerent 94-run opening stand in 9.4 overs to set up a mammoth total of 187 for five. Matthews scored the second-fastest fifty of this tournament, reaching the mark off just 25 balls.
Deandra Dottin and Stafanie Taylor contributed 49 and 41 respectively, with Taylor striking 22 off the last eight balls she faced to ensure that her team’s strong start was not wasted. Together, the Windies top-three scored 152 runs from the team’s total. It was the third-highest total in the history of the ICC Women’s World T20, and had more than 5000 home-fans dancing through much of the innings.
Only captain Chamari Athapaththu (44) provided any resistance for Sri Lanka, as Matthews capped off her day by becoming the first woman to take three wicket and score a half century in an ICC Women’s World T20 match. Sri Lanka were bowled out for 104 in 17.4 overs, handing the Windies a massive 83-run win.
Player of the Match Hayley Matthews said: “I think it’s is good to be able to come out to the games and really see the support we’ve been getting. From game-one when we played in Guyana we had an amazing crowd, and since we’ve been here in St. Lucia it’s been just as good or even better.
“I think especially when we set the low totals in the last game, the crowd really helped to push us on and I guess hype us up in the field a bit. We saw the same thing happened today.”
Sri Lanka captain Chamari Athapaththu said: “We have only a few players who are international-quality players. Shashikala (Siriwardene) and me, we have been playing good cricket in the last couple of years, but unfortunately we don’t have enough international-level players.
“But we will try our best and we trust our players. We will give them more opportunities to improve. I think they have they played a good match today and they want to play more cricket. In the next couple of years we can build good team. That’s my target.”
England v South Africa:
In a game that saw only the second ever hat-trick in ICC Women’s World T20s, England made short work of an insipid South Africa to take a step closer to the semi-finals, a position that was confirmed when the Windies beat Sri Lanka later in the night. Anya Shrubsole took a hat-trick at the end of the first innings, but Natalie Sciver was more impressive with the ball at the start, as South Africa’s batting collapsed for the second consecutive game.
Chasing just 86, England’s openers brought up their fifty partnership off 43 balls, with Danielle Wyatt crossing the 1000-run milestone in T20I cricket on the way. Wickets fell against the run of play as they neared the South Africa total, but they eventually secured a resounding seven-wicket win.
Earlier, South Africa were guilty of playing too slow in the first half of the innings for the second game in a row, as they took 28 balls to get the team score into double figures. Big-hitting opener Lizelle Lee took 26 balls for her 12 runs, and the resulting pressure on the middle-order meant wickets fell regularly.
Chloe Tryon then built two partnerships to give South Africa hope of getting to a hundred. But she was dismissed for 27 in the 18th over, the first scalp in a double-wicket maiden from Sciver, who finished on 3 for four from four overs. South Africa folded for 85 in 19.3 overs, Anya Shrubsole claiming a hat-trick to clean up the last three wickets.
England’s Anya Shrubsole said: “The bowling has been outstanding the last couple of games. She’s (Natalie Sciver) been brilliant with the new ball. It’s something she’s done in the past when I guess either myself or Katherine (Brunt) have been injured, and she always does a brilliant job. She’s worked really hard in the period leading up to this.”
South Africa coach Hilton Moreeng said: “We’re so frustrated because some of the players got in a muddle; they just changed their game-plan and approach. I think even today was a bit on the slow side. We still felt you can get yourself a respectable score if you have 130 on this wicket, it would be difficult to chase.”