When the West Indies women bettered Thailand’s modest ask of 79, a few days ago in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup, they didn’t blast those runs; the Windies Women huffed and puffed in a run-chase that knowing their belligerent talent for hitting and scoring freely should’ve happened rather easily.
That it took a former World T20-winning side nearly 17 overs to overcome a modest ask, that too by a first-timer in a World T20 event read more like a ‘relief’ than a reason to pop open the champagne bottle.
Nonetheless, the Windies Women collected vital points and couldn’t have been doubted for feeling pumped for the next contest.
For not only was it going to be against Pakistan Women- now their captors- who they cornered the last they met in World T20 event (in 2016- Windies beat them by 4 runs).
But for the simple reason that, winning your maiden contest, regardless of the experience of the opposition, this being a World Cup, is a win, at the end of the day.
But on a warm Canberra day, it wasn’t Pakistan Women but Stafanie Taylor’s ladies who felt the heat as Bismah Maroof’s eves comfortably numbed a former world champion side with well over an over to spare.
Group B- with Pakistan Women enjoying a deserving upper-hand-now remains wide and open; one just can’t randomly put a finger on who’ll proceed ahead for the semis battle.
So what Pakistan Women’s fantastic thumping of an arguably more dangerous opponent does is that it spices up things.
While Proteas Women, who are yet to face Thailand and Pakistan, have gotten off to a winning start against England, Mahroof’s ladies, ditto like Van Niekerk’s- are very much thriving.
Having sent the Windies women packing they’ll fancy their chances as they should versus England, the equally buoyant Proteas, and the inexperienced (albeit vastly talented) Thailand.
This leaves us pondering how Windies and England-mighty competitive sides and both of whom have endured stunning losses already- coping?
But thankfully while we can only do as much as remain happily excited with the teams having to themselves sort their existential situations in T20 World Cup 2020, what we can do is to discuss the key talking points from the encounter between Pakistan Women versus Windies Women 2020.
So what were the dominant headlines from an utterly one-sided game, which many can’t be doubted for calling a rather surprising one, given the outcome?
Bismah and Javeria Show Their Class, Steering A Dominant Run Chase
It wasn’t really going to be that difficult a run-chase, especially when the Windies women asked only 125 of their Pakistani counterparts.
And soon as Muneeba Ali- who’s previously faced the 2016 World Champions in the very year of their highest titular triumph- began using the pace of the Connell, with Javeria Khan at the other end, it became clear which way the pendulum was swinging.
It was all green for Pakistan in the end with the Windies women left empty as if marooned on an island sans water under eye-shattering sunlight.
By the time Pakistan lost their first wicket, the team score already read 58, Javeria having contributed 35 of those, with the side needing another 69 but with over 12 overs remaining.
Was it ever going to be tough for Pakistan Women with the next batswoman being their captain, inarguably their best batter in the side?
Soon, Mahroof settled with and compiled a useful, unbeaten and very quintessentially effective 38 of just 37 balls guiding the side home courtesy a knock that featured some flowing boundaries, some reckless instances of bowling, and in the end, a better than run-a-ball rate.
Importantly, as Javeria (1779 T20 runs) and Mahroof (2221 T20 runs) formed the key anchors, the Pakistan women’s run-chase wasn’t possible without the young Muneeba Ali’s useful 25 off just 26 balls from the top order.
Stafanie’s All-Round Show Goes To Waste
Despite the heartbreaking loss and one that the Windies women largely have themselves to blame for, the one key individual who didn’t lead the team down was the woman in-charge: captain Stafanie Taylor.
A veteran of the game as also among the sport’s leading lights, Stafanie hung in there, having arrived rather unexpectedly in the first over of her team’s batting.
By the time she left the crease, which wasn’t before the 19th over, by which time the Windies were back on their feet- thanks largely to her efforts- the score read 111, albeit at the loss of 6 wickets.
But importantly, the captain had made 43 (off 47) of those useful runs on a day where little went right for the Windies batting and everything was phenomenal for Pakistan Women.
Moreover, as the bowler, and a very handy exponent of spin at that, Taylor also removed the well-set Javeria Khan, who had contributed the lion’s share of Pakistan’s run-chase courtesy her watchful and successful 35.
Campbelle Shows Fight On A Day Belonging To Pakistan Women
Not the poster-girl of Windies’ flamboyant style of cricket, far from being the most garrulous talker around, the quiet and focused Shemaine Campbelle- just 179 away from reaching 1,000 T20I runs-once again proved her worth by starring in a much-needed partnership that revived the West Indies women during a passage of play where nothing was going right for her team.
What followed was a dignified and perhaps much-needed mid-wicket stand that yielded 63 runs at nearly a run-a-ball rate, that kept Windies Women at least in the game, instead of being knocked over, which knowing Pakistan Women’s appetite for havoc would’ve have been too farfetched.
Previously, in the game against Thailand, the under-appreciated Guanese was unbeaten on 25, carrying her bat until the run-chase signaling the win for her West Indies.
In the contest against Pakistan Women, knowing how good a form Baig and Anam were in, Shemaine’s 36-ball-43 minus the big strokes and jazzy hits formed the important fundamental for the Windies total in the end, going as far as giving bowlers something to bowl at.
Diana Baig and Anam Amin Just Too Good For Woeful Windies Batting
Spin is usually hard to negotiate with on tricky surfaces that have as much bounce as turn. Not to mention bounce, and the movement bowlers can generate on surfaces that seem to favor bowlers.
That it worked wonderfully for Pakistan women was exemplified by the dominant Diana Baig who dented the Windies Women’s contest by immediately dislodging the dangerous Hayley Matthews for a first-ball duck.
You get batswomen out all the time- and it’s nothing so untoward after all. But how big is the moment when you remove a dangerous hitter on the very first ball of your opponent’s inning?
Next up in Baig’s brilliant medium-pacer trajectory was the big-hitting Lee-Ann Kirby- who did strike the most boundaries hit by any Windies batter on a day where putting the bat to ball seemed a task. But sadly the West Indies needed more than Kirby’s 16 runs, especially with Stafanie in at a very early stage of the contest.
By the time Dottin walked into the middle, the run-rate was nearly 5 but the team had lost both openers. Meanwhile, Anam Amin the other bowler, was up to her task and clinically so; removing, the well-set Shemaine Campbelle- who had batted beautifully to resuscitate the fledgling Windies batting.
In the end, Amin’s sensational spell, the perfect foil to Baig’s probing line and lengths made the Windies women even more rickety than they would’ve liked.
A Question To Deandra Dottin
In Cricketing parlance, a phrase often overused and clearly overdone- at times- is this: “Atack is the best form of defense!”
But truth is- we must ask ourselves whether this can always safely navigate the ship to safer seas. Well, can it when your side is already bereft of effectively its top order, having to up the rate and maintain wickets at the same time?
Would you then be absolutely prepared to risk all you have to flirt with the possible danger of ending in the fielder’s hands, in the bid to break free of the pressure, which is your way of dealing with tense situations, not the team’s, obviously?
Perhaps it’s a question that only Deandra Dottin can answer- as only she could- especially having thrown away her wicket- and hers is a massive wicket always- when during her stay that yielded 1 off 10, her struggles were already too evident?
While it’s perfectly normal to expect a big shot from the scorer of 2 T20 international hundreds, but shouldn’t aggressiveness -which for some is their natural way to dwell- be assigned less priority vis-a-vis the need to stay put? What are your thoughts Stafanie Taylor?
Nonetheless, when Dottin departed – perhaps attempting a stroke that could’ve waited on Dar- in the 7th over, having arrived only in the 5th, the Windies were already pushed to the wall, finding themselves far from their comfort zone.
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