England 154 for 6 (Sciver 82) beat West Indies 134 for 5 (Dottin 63) by 20 runs
England's women sealed their T20I series against West Indies with their third victory in quick succession, a 20-run triumph at Derby. The win was set up by Nat Sciver's 82 from 61 balls, the highest T20I score by an England women's player against West Indies, and sealed by another disciplined bowling display that doused the lingering threat of Deandra Dottin, who once again top-scored for the visitors with 63.
After consecutive wins by a margin of 47 runs, the tighter scoreline was a reflection of West Indies' clear improvements, as they shuffled their pack with changes in both personnel and tactics, with a new top three and as many as eight bowling options, including Dottin herself for the first time this series.
But on the day that England's women returned to the BBC for the first time since 1993, England put on enough of a show to close out the series and show their new audience what they've been missing out on in the last 27 years, ever since Jo Chamberlain's allround heroics sealed that year's World Cup final against New Zealand.
England's bowling hero was once again the legspinner Sarah Glenn, who was never afraid to give the ball air - stratospheric air at times - as she wheeled through her four overs for 18 runs, with two lbws in the process, both of them outfoxing ambitious slog-sweeps as West Indies drowned in a rising required rate.
Sciver sets England's platform
With scores of 7 and 8 in the first two matches, it had been a lean time for England's leading run-scorer at the T20 World Cup. But faced with a surface that was significantly more sluggish than had been bargained for at the toss, Sciver found the perfect tempo to record her highest score in T20Is and secure England's third 150-plus score of the series.
The key feature of her innings was Sciver's measured leg-side play. She arrived in the midst of a two-wicket third over, as Tammy Beaumont and Danni Wyatt both fell to aggressive drives, and was faced from the outset with a wall of fielders in the covers, as West Indies challenged England to bludgeon their way through a disciplined off-stump line. Her response was a series of flicks and nudges to challenge the fielders at deep midwicket, turning ones into twos on eight occasions with smart and athletic running.
Even so, with her team-mates once again struggling to find the same fluency, England were in danger of leaving West Indies a tantalising 130-odd target until a calculated and brilliant acceleration in the closing moments of her innings. It began with a Jedi mind-trick of a reverse pull off Dottin, brilliantly anticipating the slower-ball bouncer, and continued into a 17-run penultimate over to wreck Stafanie Taylor's previously economical figures.
She fell soon afterwards, trying one too many tricks with deliveries running out as she was bowled round her legs by Dottin, but on her watch England broke the shackles with 51 crucial runs in the final five overs of the innings.
Dottin defies once again
The first sign that Dottin was in the mood came with her first delivery of the series - a whistling 70mph cutter that startled Heather Knight and confirmed that the management of her shoulder problem had been a success. Her raw strength was plain to see in three lively overs that restored a cutting edge to West Indies' attack, and she duly translated that into another pre-eminent display with the bat, a 56-ball 63 that maintained her side's threat even as the required rate crept towards two runs a ball.
In contrast to England's Powerplay approach, which had been a case of over-ambition from Beaumont and Wyatt, Dottin exuded cool power as she ransacked Katherine Brunt's first over with a brace of swings over the leg side, then meted out similar treatment on Sophie Ecclestone's first two balls to put West Indies right ahead of the rate at 27 for 0 after 14 balls.
Her progress was stymied, as so often in this series, by a lack of support at the other end. West Indies shuffled their top three to break up the power trio of Dottin, Taylor and Hayley Matthews and spread their threat further through the innings. But Kirby and Shemaine Campbelle, their replacements in the Powerplay, managed eight runs in ten balls between them. And though Matthews found some form with 21 from 23 at No. 5, she was outfoxed by a loopy legbreak from Glenn, as was Chedean Nation, one over later, via a review.
But Dottin wasn't going to die wondering. A vast swipe for six over midwicket off Sciver kick-started her second wave, and after Mady Villiers' sprawling take at long-off was shown on review to have bounced, she celebrated a 48-ball 50 by clonking her next two deliveries from Ecclestone for four. She even found time to unfurl a Natmeg, Sciver's patented clip for four through the legs, but one ball later, Brunt undid her with a slower ball, pulled to deep square leg, and West Indies' challenge went with her.
In a week in which most households been have turning on the heating for the first time this year, it was no day to be fielder at bracing Derbados. Not that chilly fingers were much of an excuse for Lee-Ann Kirby's horrific drop in the second over off Wyatt - a ballooning parry off a full-throttle drive, that caused her to leave the field for treatment after wearing the chance in her face.
Afy Fletcher had few excuses either when she gave Knight a life at short third man - it looked dramatic as she flung herself forward, but she had a long hard look at it as it hovered in the air. Remarkably, neither miss cost West Indies dear, as both batsman fell moments later, but the frailties were revealing, and exposed a side that - for all its improvements - could still be pulled apart when the pressure was applied, as Sciver demonstrated superbly at the death.
Mind you, Sciver is human after all, as Knight acknowledged after the match. She proved as much with an untimely spill off Dottin, on 43 at the time, a wipe to deep midwicket where she made good ground but let it burst through her fingers. With a bit more support, it might have been a crucial moment, but Taylor, bringing up the rear at No. 6, couldn't find her top gear in time as her innings petered out to an insubstantial 14 not out from 13 balls.