West Indies 106 for 8 (Knight 32, Taylor 29, Jahanara 3-23) beat Bangladesh 46 (Dottin 5-5)by 60 runs
A spell-binding display of fast bowling from Deandra Dottin rescued West Indies after their batting faltered in unfriendly conditions for strokeplay in Guyana. She finished with the third-best figures ever recorded in women's T20Is - 3.4-0-5-5 - as Bangladesh crumbled to 46 all out chasing a mere 107.
It was pace that caused all the problems. Pace on a pitch that discouraged it. But Dottin didn't care. She was the fourth bowler used, in the ninth over of the game, and made her threat quite plain. A bouncer fetched her first wicket - caught and bowled. An inswinger veering into the stumps brought her more success. A new batsman walked out without a helmet and a short ball coming for her throat made her reassess. Quickly.
Bangladesh were unprepared for such fury. Their feet wouldn't move. Their bats didn't work. And their presence barely mattered. Dottin only saw the wickets behind Fargana Hoque, Nigar Sultana, Rumana Ahmed, Lata Mondal and Salma Khatun. She broke them four times in 22 deliveries to pick up the best haul by a West Indian in women's T20Is.
It makes sense to have the hosts play in the prime-time spot on a triple-header day, and to keep the early one for India games considering the time zones. But that meant they had to deal with a pitch that was very slow and low. Bangladesh had prepared for that, packing their XI with spinners, with Rumana's legbreaks particularly hard to get away. The 27-year old who learnt part of her craft from Australia's Stuart MacGill finished with 2 for 16, using the crease well and putting so much work on the ball that it drifted, dipped and turned too.
Her job was made a touch easier thanks to Jahanara Alam. The former captain took two wickets in the third over of the game to set West Indies back. Hayley Matthews - the player of the match in the final of the 2016 edition - was caught superbly by Lata Mondal at mid-off. Dottin fell the very next ball, victim of another fine fielding effort, at point by Fahima Khatun. West Indies had lost a hefty chunk of their fire power with more than three-fourths of the innings left.
The energy Bangladesh showed while fielding and the confidence they had while bowling, dissipated as soon as they returned to the dressing room. Jahanara, who picked up three wickets, including a ridiculous return catch, where she over-ran the ball, but stuck her left hand behind her only for it to stick, spoke rather nervously during the mid-game interview. "We'll try," she said.
On the other hand, West Indies began their night dancing. They had to get serious, double-time, when their top order vanished, leaving the captain Stafanie Taylor to not only hold things together but also cobble up a meaningful total. She made 29 off 44 balls, her natural attacking intent curbed by the conditions and the lack of support. Eventually, she found help from wicketkeeper Kycia Knight, who managed 32 from 24, even as her team-mates yelled and cheered at the boundary edge. The coach Hendy Springer, meanwhile, was seen performing a literal face palm after his team slipped to 50 for 5.
Those last few runs - 28 came in the final three overs - had geed West Indies up. They walked out for the second innings after a much more solemn huddle but were back to higher spirits in no time. Shakera Selman picked up a wicket with her sixth delivery. Then she made the ball ghost Jahanara for several torturous minutes before putting her out of her misery - the outswinger that kept beating her bat finally pinging off it only to be caught at mid-off. The crowd, by this time, had sensed a fightback was on. And if they didn't, the insanely cool secret handshake that Selman and Matthews exchanged right there on the pitch left room for little doubt. The defending champions had found a foothold and they weren't letting go.