Hayley Matthews’ all-round show helps Windies take 1-0 Lead in a Thriller at Gros Islet

In the first T20I between West Indies and Ireland, the hosts won the toss and elected to field first. The Irish batters were off to quite some start as wicketkeeper Amy Hunter 15(14) and Gaby Lewis 17(13) saw off the new ball by getting a few sumptuous boundaries to set the tone.

Hayley Matthews. PC: Getty Images
Hayley Matthews. PC: Getty Images

It was not long before both openers fell and the new batter Orla had to cheaply depart for 4(7). This called skipper Delany on the 22-yard strip with Richardson where they put together a crucial stand of 31 runs. Runs weren’t the easiest to come by as the nature of the wicket suited the bowlers to prevent any sort of easy run-making.

Their innings was anchored by Arlene Kelly 12(16) with skipper Delany finishing off on 34(36). The West Indian bowling lineup saw great economical bowling. Out of the lot, notable performers were Hayley Matthews (3/22), Cherry-Ann Fraser (2/22), Ashmini Munisar (1/16), Afy Fletcher (1/24), and Connell’s three overs which only went for 11 runs.

In the context of the game at the innings break, 112 stood as a highly competitive score, considering the challenging conditions that were on offer for the batters. The West Indian units opening stand did not last for long as Rashada Williams had to depart in the second over itself for just 2. Shabika walked in at number 3 and stitched an important partnership with skipper Matthews of 32 runs.

Wickets kept tumbling at the other end at regular intervals, but Matthews stayed on one end and ensured the scoreboard kept ticking. Her partnerships with Henry of 19(24) and Campbelle of 15(10) kept the momentum going.

It was again in the backend of the innings after Matthews had to depart, Fletcher and Campbelle put together 25 runs of just 18 balls which ended up making the difference between the two sides. The Windies hit the winning runs on the very last ball of the innings and emerged victorious in a low-scoring thriller.

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It was a game extremely well fought by the Irish ladies, the bowling card saw discipline coupled with grit and resilience. Arlene Kelly (3/21), Cara Murray (1/20), and Aimee Maguire (1/18) were among the wicket-takers. Further, their impeccable presence in the field which included two run-outs by Prendergast and one by Murray speaks volumes of the brand of cricket they showcased.

It was a game of close margins and both teams will be extremely proud of their conduct on the field, the 2nd T20I awaits more action as Ireland will look to level the series.

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