DEFENDING World Women’s T20 champions West Indies opened their Sandals International Home T20 series with a 17-run victory over a youthful South Africa team which featured four debutantes, at Kensington Oval yesterday.
Opener Natasha McLean led the way for the Windies with a topscore of 38 from 41 balls while all rounder Deandra Dottin supported with a quick- fire knock of 22. Captain Stafanie Taylor with three wickets for 16 runs spearheaded her side restricting the female Proteas to 107 for seven in reply to Windies’ 124 for six.
Leg-spinner Afy Fletcher chipped in with two for 17 and wicketkeeper Merissa Aguilleira enjoyed
a satisfactory performance behind the stumps bringing off two stumpings and holding onto a catch to give Fletcher her first wicket.
McLean, who served as a substitute throughout the three-match ODI series that preceded yesterday’s match, made full use of her inclusion in the starting XI to belt four boundaries in a breezy innings before she was bowled by Sarah Smith in the 12th over. Smith, one of the debutantes, had earlier gotten rid of Taylor to collect her maiden T20 wicket and finished with the best bowling figures of two for 17 from three overs.
Dottin replaced McLean at the wicket and soon beefed up the scoring rate striking two fours in a 19-ball stay. She eventually holed out to long-off, gifting another debutante, Tumi Sekhukhune her first catch in a T20 international, off medium-pacer Zintle Mali (2-24).
From a position of 98 for six in 17 overs, the home team rallied to their eventual total behind handy knocks of 14 not out by Aguilleira and Kycia Knight.
McLean was soon back in action as she held a catch at mid-on spooned by opener Lizelle Lee off pacer Shamilia Connell (1-19) off the fourth ball of the innings.
Taylor introduced herself into the attack and struck with her fifth ball outfoxing Laura Wolvaardt who was tidily stumped by Aguilleira.
Once again, McLean returned to the spotlight as her excellent return from the deep to bowler Fletcher caught third debutante Robyn Searle short of her ground while attempting a third run.
Captain Chloe Tryon counter-attacked the bowling, but in the attempt to keep up with the challenging required rate, was left stranded by Fletcher for Aguilleira to complete a second stumping. Her innings of 23 lasted 16 balls and contained two fours and a six.
At 66 for five with six overs remaining, the match was virtually over as a contest and despite a pulsating sixth wicket stand between Marizanne Kapp and Faye Tunnicliffe, the fourth debutante, Windies ran out comfortable winners. Kapp clobbered two fours and a six in 30 off 22 balls before both she and Tunnicliffe (14) fell victim to Taylor in the final over.
McLean was adjudged Player Of The Match.The series moves onto Trinidad and Tobago for another four matches at the Brian Lara Academy, the first of which is slated for Friday.
Source: Ayana Holder – Daily Nation News