Photo Credit: ICC
Captain fantastic Hayley Matthews is relishing her role as the West Indies’s anchor after steering her side to a thrilling win over Ireland at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup.
The Windies skipper constructed a composed innings of 66 not out to guide her team to their first win of the tournament in Cape Town.
Orla Prendergast’s fine knock of 61 had helped the Irish – also without a win in Group B – to a total of 137 for nine under the Newlands lights.
But Matthews, ably assisted by Chinelle Henry’s 34, remained ice-cool under pressure to propel her team to a nerve-jangling victory with one ball remaining on Friday night.
The Windies opener said: “I think as captain and as one of the leaders in the batting line-up, we needed someone to bat through the innings and that’s the role I tried to take on today.
“For me, I just had to take up a bit more responsibility [as captain].
“At the same time, over the last couple of weeks and games, it has been helping me to bat deeper as well. It’s obviously a new role that I’m taking on but it’s helping me in a lot of ways.
“There was definitely a lot of pressure.
“Kudos to the Irish girls – they bowled really well and bowled in some really good areas at points in time.
“But I think it was a complete team effort the way Chinelle Henry came in and batted.”
Ireland captain Laura Delany opted to bat first after winning the toss and Prendergast’s innings looked to have put them in a promising position for victory.
The Irish No.3 struck an impressive 61 off just 47 balls as West Indies seamer Shamilia Connell (three for 24) starred with the ball.
Rashada Williams and Shemaine Campbelle were dismissed cheaply in the Windies’ response but Matthews, without the influential Stafanie Taylor through injury, compiled a crucial 74-run partnership with Henry to help haul her team over the line.
Delany, whose side spilt a whole host of chances and have now lost three games from three in Group B, said: “I think we were actually pretty relaxed – but that may not have reflected in the way that we fielded.
“I thought we batted with great intent and then in the field, we just have to be better if we want to compete with some of the best sides in the world.
“The best players give you one opportunity and if you don’t take it, they’ll take the game away from you.
“I’m sure there were definitely nerves out there for a lot of the girls because it’s the first World Cup that they’ve played in.
“We’ve trained much better than that and performed much better than that so that’s one area that we’ll definitely want to correct as soon as possible.”