As Mignon du Preez whipped Deepti Sharma for a single through mid-wicket to complete a successful chase of 275 on the last ball of a tense match at Hagley Oval, the West Indies camp in Wellington jumped and shouted in joy as India’s three-wicket loss helped them book a spot in the semifinals of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup.
Ever since their final league match against South Africa was washed out due to rain, Stafanie Taylor and Co. were on the edge of their seats and pondering whether they will make it to the last-four stage or not. But luck fell in their way and now, West Indies will face an undefeated Australia on Wednesday in the first semifinal.
“I feel happy and proud for the girls as we played some very good cricket. We deserved to be in it (semifinals). I know it was a long wait, but the excitement is well worth it, and we will give it our best shot,” stated head coach Courtney Walsh in a video by Cricket West Indies (CWI).
Amidst the frenzy and happiness of players celebrating their way into the semi-finals in a video that went viral on social media, captain Stafanie Taylor was seated calmly as her team-mates soaked in the feeling of reaching the knockouts.
Asked about her sedate celebration, Taylor remarked, “I was probably calm because others were making a lot of noise. I felt like I am not one of those people who get all excited and be jumping like that. So, I felt like there had to be someone who would be the calm one. Turns out to be me!”
West Indies and Australia have faced off against each other twice in the mega event: warm-up as well as league stage match, with Meg Lanning and Co. ending up on the winning side both times.
“We played Australia in the group stage and a practice game, so we have to look at that footage and go back to the drawing board and see where we went wrong. We bowled well against them, but our batting kinda fell down a bit. We have to step up our game in the semis,” observed Taylor.
We take a look at the journey West Indies took to reach the final four of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup to set up their semi-final against Australia.
1. West Indies 259/9 (Hayley Matthews 119) defeated New Zealand 256 (Hayley Matthews 2/41, Deandra Dottin 2/2) by 3 runs
Sparked by the brilliance of opening batter Hayley Matthews, West Indies got their campaign and the tournament as a whole off to a stunning start when they beat the hosts in a thriller in Mount Maunganui. The dramatic final-over win set the tone for a group stage packed with nail-biting finishes, with Deandra Dottin the hero with the ball in the final over, taking two wickets before running out Fran Jonas with New Zealand three runs short.
2. West Indies 225/6 (Shemaine Campbelle 66, Chedean Nation 49*) defeated England 218 (Shamilia Connell 3/38, Anisa Mohammed 2/24) by 7 runs
Another thriller saw the West Indies pull off their second big shock of the tournament and put them right in the mix for semi-final qualification. The first innings was dominated by two partnerships – an 81-run stand by openers Deandra Dottin and Hayley Matthews to set a platform, and then a 123-run effort between Shemaine Campbelle and Chedean Nation to rescue a score after a mini-collapse. Again it looked like West Indies were going to be short, only for Anissa Mohammed to strike with two wickets in four balls in the 48th over to bowl England out with the target still seven runs away.
3. India 317/8 (Anisa Mohammed 2/59) defeated West Indies 162 (Deandra Dottin 62, Hayley Matthews 43) by 155 runs
The brilliance of Smriti Mandhana’s 123 and Harmanpreet Kaur’s 109 had West Indies reeling and faced with the task of chasing 317. And while India would have been nervous when openers Dottin and Matthews raced to 100 without loss after just 12 overs, the departure of Dottin sparked a collapse, with ten wickets falling for just 62 runs. The huge nature of the defeat put a significant dent in West Indies’ net run rate.
4. West Indies 131 (Stafanie Taylor 50) beaten by Australia 132/3 (Chinelle Henry 1/20) by 7 wickets
A resolute half-century from captain Stafanie Taylor was not enough to help the West Indies to a defendable total, as Ellyse Perry, Ashleigh Gardner and Jess Jonassen ripped through the batting line-up. Two early wickets gave the Windies hope of pulling off a stunning upset in defence of their lowly total, but a classy unbeaten 83* from Rachael Haynes helped Australia rattle off the chase with more than 19 overs to spare. This second heavy defeat further hurt the net run rate.
5. West Indies 140/9 (Shemaine Campbelle 53*) defeated Bangladesh 136 (Hayley Matthews 4/15, Afy Fletcher 3/29, Stafanie Taylor 3/29) by 4 runs
A third dramatic win of the group stage put West Indies up to six points and in the mix for semi-final qualification. The Bangladesh spinners caused problems for every team through the tournament, and West Indies were no exception, with only a 53* off 107 balls from Shemaine Campbelle helping the Caribbean outfit up to their 140-run total. But West Indies have some fine spinners of their own, and Heyley Matthews and Afy Fletcher took seven wickets between them to set up another tight finish. And three wickets for the outstanding Stafanie Taylor saw Bangladesh bowled out just four runs shy of West Indies’ score, with all ten Tigers wickets falling to spin.
6. West Indies 89/7 (Deandra Dottin 27) beaten by Pakistan 90/2 (Shakera Selman 1/16) by 8 wickets
A fourth win would have all but sent West Indies through to the semi-finals but a disappointing effort with the bat saw them well-beaten by Pakistan in a rain-shortened match at Seddon Park. The game effectively became a T20I after a lengthy delay, but only Deandra Dottin, Stafanie Taylor and Afy Fletcher reached double figures as West Indies struggled to just 89/7 in the first-innings. Pakistan, who had been winless going into the encounter, pulled off their only victory of the group stage as the top-order made easy work of the chase, leaving West Indies sweating on semi-final qualification.
7. West Indies against South Africa – Match Abandoned
Only 10.5 overs were bowled in Wellington as West Indies’ final group stage match against South Africa was abandoned. West Indies reduced their opponents to 61/4 in the only play to take place before the rain fell again, and the no-result meant they were given a single point.
That point took them up to seven from seven matches, likely removing the issue of net run rate from the equation but leaving Stafanie Taylor and her team reliant on either England losing to Bangladesh or South Africa beating India on the final day of the group stage. But South Africa duly obliged…