Humbled by England yet again, the 4th T20I served as a reminder for West Indies to introspect.
England handed West Indies another defeat in the five-match series extending a remarkable 4-0 lead. Riding on the all-round heroics of Charlie Dean who excelled with the bat and ball, England registered a thumping win courtesy of a batting failure for West Indies. Here’s what unfolded!
England won the toss and decided to bat first at the Kensington Oval. The pitch looked conducive for batting but England did not make the most of it. They already have an upper hand with an unassailable 3-0 lead and were just looking to extend the momentum and this match seemed like the perfect opportunity to do so but West Indies was not going to be an easy side to push over.
Batting first, England did not have their best outings with the bat as they posted a moderate total of 131/8 at the end of their 20 overs quota. Lauren Winfield Hill was dismissed early on for 1 and then with Sophia Dunkley and Nat Sciver at the crease, England looked on course with the scoreboard ticking. Sheneta Grimmond however had other plans and got rid of the dangerous and settled Nat Sciver for 15 off 13 and before Sophia Dunkley could do any damage, she was sent packing by Cherry-Ann Fraser for 35. Another massive setback for England was when Fraser struck again twice in the same over and got rid of Maia Bouchier and Heather Knight for ducks.
Suddenly, the scoreboard at the end of 11 overs read 73/5 and England was in deep trouble. Although the scoring rate for England looked good, they needed a partnership to build on a respectable total. Amy Jones was striking at 140 and hit good boundaries but her dismissal by Grimmond and another in the same over of Sophie Ecclestone meant West Indies had the momentum going their way and that they could capitalise. England, however, being the team that boasts of deep batting had Katherine Brunt and Charlie Dean score some late cameos and flourish as they put up 24 and 20 respectively which meant they had something to defend. The pick of the bowlers for West Indies were Sheneta Grimmond and Cherry-Ann Fraser with their three wickets and impeccable line and lengths restricting the English batting. Hayley Matthews also led the bowling admirably scalping a wicket. The task was cut out for West Indies who had bowled so well but now needed to put up a good batting performance and register their 1st win, could they do it?
West Indies had a shambolic batting display as they were skittled for a dismal 82. Having the worst possible start losing Aaliyah Alleyne and Rashada Williams in the very 1st over, the pressure was building on then. Hayley Matthews and Shemaine Campbelle in their resurrection effort added 40 runs in 4.3 overs and were settling in well but before they could capitalize the latter was dismissed by Charlie Dean. Perhaps that was the turning point for West Indies as they began to lose wickets on a consistent basis with none among the likes of Djenaba Joseph, or Trishan Holder able to hold their ground, West Indies were falling deeper into the hole they dug for themselves. Afy Fletcher was batting reasonably well but with wickets around her falling in a flurry and some remarkable bowling by England with Sophie Ecclestone and Charlie Dean picking 2 wickets each, the match was done and dusted. The final nail in the coffin was Lauren Bell picking the wickets of Grimmond and Kaysia Schultz in the 16th over wrapping up the proceedings.
England won by a massive margin of 49 runs and will pride themselves on defending 131 while West Indies would be ruing on what went wrong with their batting, yet again as this is their third straight game failing to chase. Their bowling seems to be doing well but finding the balance is key and that is an area they would look to be working on, ahead of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup. What is a positive sign for England is how well Lauren Bell and Charlie Dean have been bowling and picking up wickets regularly but they would still be looking to work on their batting, iron out deficiencies and end the series on a high with another win in the last and final T20I. Deservingly, Charlie Dean was declared the player of the match for her 2/16 with the ball and her blitzkrieg cameo of 20 that helped England post a decent total.
Brief Scores: England- 131/8 (S Dunkley 35, Katherine Brunt 24*; Fraser 3/20, Grimmond 3/33) defeated West Indies- 82 all out (H Matthews 23, S Campbelle 17; Bell 4/12, Ecclestone 2/13 and Dean 2/16)
I am a first year postgraduate student pursuing a MA in Media and Communication Studies at Christ University, Bengaluru. I am a podcaster, blogger and an avid cricket fan. When not glued to cricket matches, you can find me submerged in books and thinking about cricket all the time.