Relieved Hayley Matthews breaks West Indies’ cycle of woe

West Indies had not gained any of their final 15 T20Is. Not even the one they tied in 20-overs as a result of they misplaced that in a Super Over to New Zealand in October 2022. The final time they gained a sequence was 18 months in the past, in June 2021, after they beat Pakistan at house. Their solely different bilateral triumph within the final 4 years got here towards Ireland. Since profitable the T20 World Cup virtually seven years in the past, they’ve been defeated in 60% of the matches they’ve performed.
So when Hayley Matthews sliced her reverse quantity Laura Delany over cowl for the 4 that accomplished a profitable chase of their third T20 World Cup group match, she roared with the delight of somebody who had performed far more than merely hold a slim semi-final hope alive. She appeared to scream away the disappointments, the frustration and the burden she has carried since she was named Player of the Match within the last at Eden Gardens when West Indies beat Australia in 2016.
Poetically, she had scored 66 that evening, precisely the identical variety of runs as she did this evening. West Indies are unlikely to problem for the trophy however the function Matthews performs within the facet stays unmatched. In the absence of Stafanie Taylor and Deandra Dottin, who additionally contributed to the 2016 champion run, her value to the facet is amplified.
Much like Bangladesh’s Nigar Sultana and Sri Lanka’s Chamari Athapaththu, Matthews usually has to hold her staff alone and, simply as these two have mentioned, she does not thoughts. “As captain and one of the most experienced batters, I expect to go out there and take on a certain role and shoulder responsibility,” Matthews mentioned after the win. “The last couple of games we’ve played it hasn’t worked but today I was able to execute.”

In actuality, it’s greater than only a couple. West Indies have misplaced to New Zealand, England, South Africa and India within the final six months, all by massive margins, and discuss of the decline of their girls’s staff stays rife. For Matthews that evaluation wants contextualising. “We had a long run of games against opposition that were all ranked higher than us. And at the same time, we suffered so many injuries in every match. We were almost struggling for players.”

Even for this recreation, West Indies had been with out Taylor, who was stretchered off the sector on Wednesday with a recurrence of the again harm that had stored her out, and Chedean Nation, who has been dominated out of the match with a knee harm. On the again of losses to England and India, and towards an Irish facet effectively set on 72 for 1 after 11 overs, West Indies might simply have slipped up.

That’s when Matthews confirmed her hand. She introduced herself again on within the twelfth over and regardless that it started expensively with a no-ball six, it appeared to have a relaxing impact on the facet. In the subsequent over, Shamilia Connell had Olga Prendergast caught at further cowl and triggered an Ireland collapse. They misplaced 8 for 46 and failed to achieve 150, which might have been a aggressive rating, and West Indies believed the sport was theirs to win. “If we could restrict them to under 140, we knew we’d be in a pretty good position,” Matthews mentioned.

She gave credit score to offspinner Karishma Ramharack, who took 2 for 18 in her overs, and bowled the 14th and sixteenth overs wherein she conceded simply seven runs. “She held the team together when everything wasn’t going well, so kudos to her.”

Exactly the identical might be mentioned about Matthews herself, though not with out a little little bit of luck. She was dropped on 8 at backward level after which referred to as her ball-watching companion Rashada Williams by for a run that ended up in her dismissal. West Indies might have unravelled from there, and plenty of occasions afterwards, however Matthews stored her cool. “We knew if we could carry one set batter to the end, we could get there,” she mentioned.

But it was solely proper on the finish, when two extra probabilities had been put down and one other run-out effected, within the last over, that West Indies scraped over the road. It was error-ridden and unconvincing however that does not matter to Matthews. “It’s good to get that win on the board,” she mentioned. “Some people may say we should have won more convincingly against Ireland – not taking away from them but our standards are pretty high – but for us it’s about getting that first win. In sport, once you get the first win, it gets a bit easier to get the second and the third.”

West Indies at the moment are focusing on a second win, over Pakistan on Sunday, to finish the match with the data that issues haven’t slipped as severely because the statistics for the reason that 2016 win suggests. “We’ve just got to keep believing. We knew England and India would be a challenge and these last two games would be a real test of where we are as a team,” Matthews mentioned. “These two games are the two most important for us to leave this World Cup with some pride and some respect.”

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