How The West Indies Won Another Thriller
Jay highlights the four biggest factors in the West Indies' seven-run win over England
Two matches. Two thrillers. And two wins for The West Indies.
After defeating England and New Zealand in their first two games, the Stafanie Taylor-led outfit is in with a more than decent shot of making the semi-finals of the ongoing World Cup.
Let’s take a look at four of the biggest talking points from today’s contest.
Five deliveries are all it took for Sophie Ecclestone to gut punch the momentum out of the West Indies innings. The “Big 3” of Hayley Matthews, Deandra Dottin, and Stafanie Taylor all departed in the same over. While a frustrated Matthews edged the left-arm spinner to short third man and Stafanie edged a snorter through to Amy Jones, Dottin was called through for a suicidal run by Kycia Knight.
At the end of a Powerplay that yielded 58 runs, the West Indies was looking at a score in the region of 270. After Ecclestone’s over and considering their historical reliance on the Big 3, 200 would have been a mini miracle.
However, Shemaine Campbelle and Chedean Nation put on a partnership that will be remembered for years to come. Their 123-run stand is only the third time in 22 innings since November 1st 2019 that the Windies have put together a 50+ partnership that hasn’t included any member of the Big 3.
It was also their highest non-Big-3 partnership in 40 innings since the 2017 World Cup.
Shemaine Campbelle’s 66 was her first 50+ score in 47 innings — a streak that stretches back to more than nine years ago. Remarkably, she did not face a single dot ball in her last 21 deliveries before being dismissed.
Chedean Nation capped off an encouraging run of form that’s seen her emerge as the West Indies’ designated finisher. Her last five innings read 51*, 17, 35, 36 and 49* in this game.
A total of 225 gave Stafanie Taylor just enough runs to employ the same Powerplay containment strategy that worked against New Zealand.
Stafanie Taylor’s captaincy master class
Stafanie Taylor’s game plan in the Powerplay was simple. She asked Shamilia Connell and Chinelle Henry to bowl back of a length on a fifth stump line to a packed off side field. With mid on and mid off up, and given the height of her opening bowlers, it was hard for England’s batters to loft the ball over the infield.
This helped keep the run rate in check in the first ten overs and gave off-spinner Hayley Matthews a run rate cushion heading into the middle overs. To make things better, Matthews averaged 3.2 degrees of turn on the Dunedin pitch, more than anyone else on the day.
Yet, it was Matthews’ arm balls that resulted in her two wickets. She had Heather Knight caught behind before Nat Sciver miscued one to mid on. The Sciver dismissal was a great example of a bowler and captain working in unison. Sciver was tempted into hitting with the turn to clear mid on who was on the edge of the circle. Expecting an appreciable amount of turn, she opened up her stance, ready to swing toward the leg side. However, Matthews’ arm ball drifted away from England’s best batter who could only manage to top edge the delivery straight to the fielder back on the circle.
Stafanie also held back Anisa Mohammed when Amy Jones walked out to the middle at the fall of Sciver’s wicket. Many captains would have been tempted to simply continue with spin on a turning wicket. Yet, Amy Jones is one of the best players of spin in England’s line up. She loves to sweep and to use her feet to spinners, which is not something that is easy to do against Hayley Matthews who is faster through the air.
So Stafanie kept Matthews on and brought on right-arm seamer Aaliyah Alleyne with Matthews stationed at slip. Lo and behold, Jones nicked an Alleyne outswinger straight into the hands of Matthews.
Everything Stafanie Taylor touched with her shrewd and tactical mind turned to gold. There may have been an element of luck, but make no mistake: Without her leadership, the West Indies would not have triumphed over the reigning champions.
Was Kate Cross really unlucky?
They called it a “turning point and they said she was “unlucky.”
They’re only half right.
Kate Cross was caught short of her crease when Anisa Mohammed inadvertently parried a caught and bowled chance onto the stumps at the non-striker’s end.
But was Cross really unlucky?
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Every time a batter leaves their crease early, they take a risk. With long on and long off back on the boundary, there is a good chance of a ball being hit back straight. With a comfortable 9 needed off 18 balls, was there any need for Cross to gain an extra yard and to risk a run out with just two wickets in hand?
It may sound harsh, but this is less an indictment on Cross — who was part of a heroic recue act that saw her put on 60 for the ninth wicket with Ecclestone — and more a critique of conventional cricketing wisdom.
In situations where the required rate is not a pressing concern, perhaps we need to change this default setting of trying to steal an extra yard. It’s simply unnecessary and on this occasion, it allowed the West Indies back into a game that they were well on their way to losing.
THAT Deandra Dottin Catch
Last week, Deandra Dottin famously defended six runs off a thrilling final over against New Zealand.
Today, at full stretch and suspended in mid-air, she pulled off an absolute blinder to send Lauren Winfield-Hill back to the pavilion, giving the West Indies their first breakthrough.
It was by some distance the catch of the tournament and rightfully drew comparisons with Jonty Rhodes’ athleticism. Even if she underwhelms with the bat, Dottin has a happy knack of making high-impact cameo appearances in the most dramatic of scripts.
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