NEW PLYMOUTH, New Zealand- The WINDIES Women played the most clinical and thrilling match of their 7-week tour of New Zealand but still lost by 1 run in a final over thriller at Pukekura Park in New Plymouth.
Winning the toss for the fifth time out of six, Captain Stafanie Taylor once again elected to bowl first on one of the smallest but most picturesque grounds the team has visited.
New Zealand’s opening pair of Captain Suzie Bates and Sophie Devine went after the WINDIES Women’s seamers. Shamilia Connell and medium-pacer Deandra Dottin were initially the most expensive, while Tremayne Smartt kept her line and length.
Skipper Taylor then unleashed Hayley Matthews into the bowling attack and she delivered almost immediately, bowling Sophie Devine for 41, which included 3 fours and 3 sixes.
The in-form Katey Martin joined her captain and they tried to build a partnership, but Matthews once again had the breakthrough. Matthews rattled the stumps of Martin for 7.
The WINDIES Women’s fielding during this match was the most concise and animated in the 6 games played during the tour.
Afy Fletcher had a slight twist of her ankle while running to save a boundary and had to be substituted by Reniece Boyce. Fletcher is doing well and is being monitored by the physiotherapist on tour.
Stafanie Taylor bowled three of the most economical overs in the T20 series, amassing just 8 runs from them. Helping her team to keep the White Ferns scoring well below the projected target they started with.
Deandra Dottin returned to the attack and backed up her Captain’s superb bowling with some of her own. She bowled Maddy Green for 15 and the White Ferns were 85/3 in 12.5 overs.
Akira Peters also had a good contribution with the ball, bowling three overs for 22 to help fill the gap of Afy Fletcher’s leg-spin.
Hayley Matthews was reintroduced and once again did the job asked of her. She had the dangerous Amy Satterthwaite caught and bowled for 10 in the 18th over, with New Zealand on 115/4.
Deandra Dottin ran-out Anna Peterson for 1 then bowled Natalie Dodd for 1. Leigh Kasperek was run out for 3 by a throw-in from Akira Peters which Hayley Matthews completed.
New Zealand White Ferns restricted to 134/7 from their 20 overs. Suzie Bates top-scored with 52 not out.
Hayley Matthews was the pick of the WINDIES Women’s bowlers, taking 3/24, while Deandra Dottin had 2/23.
The WINDIES Women signaled their intent to charge after the target by changing the opening pair. Captain Stafanie Taylor joined Hayley Matthews and the pair went aggressively at the White Ferns bowling.
Scoring at almost a-run-a-ball, the pair looked set in getting the target with ease. They took the quick singles and dispatched the bad deliveries to the boundary.
Taylor, played a beautiful flick off her legs for one of her 2 fours. Then Leigh Kasperek trapped her LBW with a delivery that could have been heading down the legside.
Chedean Nation returning from a slight injury looked set to partner with Matthews to get the run-chase back on track. However, it was Kasperek who struck another blow when Nation fell over trying a sweep shot and was given out for an outside edge which Martin caught.
Deandra Dottin and Merissa Aguilleira looked set together. Dottin was the aggressor of the pair, stroking sweetly timed shots through mid-wicket and dissecting the outfield. She struck 4 fours on her way to a blistering 24 from 17 deliveries before Kasperek got her to edge behind of the faintest of touches.
Aguilleira was joined by Kycia Knight and the pair rotated the strike much to the pleasure of the WINDIES Women coaching staff and team. They took the odd chances to go after the boundaries.
The White Ferns were realizing this partnership was taking the game away from them when they hit the 50-run partnership. Suzie Bates then took the gamble to change the field placements and death-bowlers.
Needing 5 runs from the last over, Bates brought back spinner Anna Peterson to stem the flow of runs from the seamers.
First ball and Kycia slashed looking for a boundary and was caught by Sophie Devine for 26. In came Britney Cooper who was in a similar position to the victorious 2016 T20 World Cup final.
Nerves got the better of Cooper who had just scored 2 runs, when she charged down the wicket trying to heave a shot to long-on but was stumped by Martin.
Akira Peters then sacrificed her wicket going for a single to get Merissa Aguilleira back on strike.
Needing 3 runs to win from the last ball, Aguilleira could only manage a single, thereby handing the White Ferns victory by 1 run and the T20 series 3-0.
Speaking after the game, WINDIES Women’s Head Coach Henderson Springer expressed his disappointment in the result, “We played some very disappointing cricket in the second half of the match. Kudos to the bowlers who restricted New Zealand exceptionally well. Unfortunately, the batting couldn’t work right down to the end as we would have liked to get a win. We got ourselves in a good position, a position we wanted to be in but couldn’t finish it.”
Hayley Matthews was Player of the Match.