Matthews return fails to halt WI losing skid

June 25, 2024

West Indies Women’s captain Hayley Matthews

West Indies Women’s captain Hayley Matthews

HAMBANTOTA, Sri Lanka (CMC):

Talismanic captain Hayley Matthews returned from injury but West Indies Women’s winning touch still deserted them, as they lost the opening Twenty20 International by four wickets here yesterday.

The 26-year-old, who was sidelined for the last two one-day internationals of the preceding three-match series, top-scored with a run-a-ball 30 with five fours to help her struggling side up to 134 for eight off their 20 overs at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium.

Sri Lanka Women then got 35 apiece from Vishmi Gunaratne and Harshitha Samarawickrama as they reeled in their target with eight balls to spare, to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

The chase ebbed and flowed, the hosts comfortably placed at 60 for one in the 10th over before losing their way to be 116 for six in the 17th over, and in danger of defeat.

However, Nilakshika Silva (17 not out) and Ama Kanchana (seven not out) put on a precious 21 in an unbroken seventh-wicket stand to haul Sri Lanka over the line.

Sent in, West Indies Women lost veteran Stafanie Taylor to injury at nine without loss in the third over but Qiana Joseph, who struck three fours and a six in an 18-ball 20, joined Matthews to stretch the first wicket stand to 40.

Joseph missed a heave in the seventh over and was bowled by off-spinning captain Chamari Athapaththu (4-29) and Shemaine Campbelle followed cheaply for five, leg before wicket missing a sweep at off-spinner Priyadharshani Fernando (3-28), to leave West Indies on 50 for two in the ninth over.

Two partnerships then got the visitors up to their eventual total. First, Matthews posted 27 for the third wicket with Chedean Nation (8) before Alleyne added a further 33 for the seventh wicket with Afy Fletcher (14 not out).

In reply, Sri Lanka lost Athapaththu for one in the third over with 14 runs on the board, off-spinner Matthews getting the left-hander caught on the ropes at deep mid-wicket.

But Gunaratne, who faced 25 balls and struck half-dozen fours, put on 46 for the second wicket with Samarawickrama who in turn added 24 for the fourth with Hasini Perera (20), to put the home side in sight of victory.

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