West Indies showed why they are known as one of the most improved sides in women's cricket with their first-ever win over New Zealand, beating the latter by 48 runs in a Super Six match to move to second place with six points. The defeat brought New Zealand's net run-rate to 0.952 against 1.079 of England, their opponents in the final Super Six match, which could well decide who faces Australia in the final. New Zealand meet England on Wednesday in a day-night game that will only matter if West Indies lose to Australia earlier in the day.
Refreshingly, Stafanie Taylor and Deandra Dottin were not the stars of the win, as allrounder Shanel Daley and offspinner Anisa Mohammed added 45 valuable runs for the ninth wicket, the highest partnership in the game, to push their side past 200.
Medium-pacer Tremayne Smartt then shocked the New Zealand top order with sharp, late inswing, though key batsman Sophie Devine was handed a shocker of an lbw decision off a thick inside edge. While New Zealand may rue some other marginal lbw calls that went against them, it was also their over-reliance on captain Suzie Bates that cost them.
Bates was at the other end when Devine, the only other New Zealand batsman to have made a fifty-plus score in the tournament, was given out off Smartt in the tenth over with the score reading 47 for 2. There were three other lbws in the innings, opener Frances Mackay falling to a Smartt inswinger, No. 6 Nicola Browne missing a sweep off Taylor and No. 8 Kate Broadmore caught surprised by a quick incoming Dottin delivery. While replays showed Smartt's, and particularly Dottin's, deliveries going down leg, Browne was struck just outside the line of off.
Apart from being unfortunate, New Zealand also suffered at their own hands, as they attempted two suicidal singles to point to lose Katie Perkins and Rachel Priest. Perkins and Bates had managed to steady the chase to an extent, but the former's charge from the non-striker's end reduced New Zealand to 76 for 4 in the 19th over.
Three overs later, Bates, the leading run-scorer in the tournament, slammed one straight back to the bowler Mohammed to depart for 30. Bates, like Taylor earlier, had looked in a different class compared to the rest of her team-mates and her fall all but ended New Zealand's chances. Though Priest slogged a few boundaries, there was little chance of her side getting close to West Indies' 207.
Mohammed, who had figures of 8.3-3-13-1, played a major role in West Indies getting as far as they did, along with Daley. Mohammed, dropped on 14 by Morna Nielsen at long-on, swung a few fours down the ground to make a quick 31. Daley, who came in with West Indies 104 for 5, ensured they batted the full 50 overs, knocking the ball around patiently before hitting out towards the end.
Taylor and Dottin made important contributions too. After Bates put West Indies in, Sian Ruck trapped Kycia Knight and Natasha McLean lbw early, both batsmen moving far across and missing pitched-up deliveries. Taylor responded with several emphatic cover drives to motor to 49 off 53 before Bates moved one away from a length to produce an edge to the wicketkeeper.
Big-hitting Dottin walked in at 82 for 4 and smacked her first delivery over extra cover for four. Bates took off her impressive left-arm spinner Nielsen in anticipation of more hitting. It made no difference to Dottin, who powered the seamer Lea Tahuhu for two more boundaries. After Bates was swiped to the advertising boards beyond deep midwicket, she brought back Nielsen, who needed three deliveries to remove Dottin. The first flew to the deep square leg rope, the third ended in the hands of square leg as Dottin went for 27 off 21.
The innings then meandered on till Mohammed arrived at 159 for 8 in the 44th over and put the total beyond New Zealand's reach.