Kolkata, April 3 (IANS) Riding on scintillating knocks from the opening duo of skipper Stafanie Taylor and Hayle Matthews, the West Indies annexed their first Women’s World T20 crown with a convincing eight-wicket victory in the final over defending champions Australia at the Eden Gardens here on Sunday.
Set an asking rate of 7.45 by the Aussies, who compiled a challenging 148/5 after electing to bat on a docile track, the Caribbeans romped to victory with three balls to spare in a game mostly played in sultry conditions and before a sparse crowd.
The end came in a dramatic fashion, with Britney Cooper (3 not out) taking two lucky runs off bowler Ellyse Perry, as substitute Holly Ferling missed a run out opportunity.
Ferling conceded an overthrow that helped the West Indies reach 149/2 in 19.3 overs. It kickstarted celebrations with even the men’s cricket team joining their jubilant women in an exhibition of impromptu Calypso dance.
It ended Australia’s fine run in the tournament, where they had finished champions in the previous three editions.
Twenty-four years old Taylor continued her sparkling show in the tourney, as she led from the front with an authoritative 57-ball 59 (6×4) and put on 120 for the first wicket with Matthews, who top scored with a 45-ball 66 (6×4, 3×6). That set the stage for the triumph, less than three months after the West Indian boys won the Under-19 honours in Bangladesh.
Taylor was later adjudged the Woman of the Tournament while the 18-year-old Matthews — having also grabbed a wicket — finished with the Woman of the Match award.
Playing their first World T20 final, the West Indies began their chase in a rollicking manner, as the two openers took the team total to 50 in 6.4 overs.
At the midway stage, the Caribbeans were 76 for no loss, very much on track to overhaul the Aussie total.
Eighteen-year-old Barbadonian Matthews got to her 50 off 35 balls, while the team’s 100 came in 13.3 overs.
Matthews departed in the 16th over, playing straight into the hands of Alex Blackwell at mid-wicket.
Taylor’s stay in the middle ended in the penultimate over, as she cut straight to Jess Jonassen at point.
Earlier, fifties from Elyse Villani and captain Meg Lanning propelled the Australian eves to a decent total.
Both Lanning and Villani scored 52 runs each. For the West Indies, Deandra Dottin returned with figures of 2/33.
Australia got off to a flyer even after losing an early wicket. Alyssa Healy was out caught and bowled by Hayley Matthews in the second over with the score reading 15/1.
But then the other opener Villani and Lanning took the innings forward with some exquisite shots. At the end of the power play, Australia managed to notch up 54 runs.
The duo continued to score freely with Villani being the aggressor. The West Indies were able to break the 77-run partnership, finally, in the 12th over.
Lanning, who was quiet at the other end, took over from where Villani left off. The skipper, after anchoring the innings, shifted gears after the 15th over and completed her half-century.
Ellyse Perry (28) then hit a few big ones in the last three overs to take the score to a commendable one.