Danni Wyatt lays foundation for England’s T20 win over West Indies

• England 180-6 beat West Indies 138-9 by 42 runs
• Home side take 1-0 lead in three-match series

A change in format, a change in fortunes for West Indies Women? Not so much.

These are the former World T20 champions but once again – as they had already done in all three of the one-day internationals this summer – England trampled all over them with the bat, racing to 180-6 off their 20 overs.

The anchor was a 55-ball 81 from opener Danni Wyatt – her highest T20 score in front of a home crowd.

“I made the most of it,” Wyatt said of riding her luck early on. “I felt pretty stressed throughout that innings but I just thought, ‘get through it, run well’.

“I’ve done well opening the batting in T20 so I’ve got that confidence from the past two years, I just go out there and try and smack the ball from ball one.”

In return West Indies sank to 138-9, the eventual margin of victory 42 runs.

To give them their due, West Indies – who could easily have collapsed without trace after the loss of two quick wickets up top – did at last show the kind of fight which had been so lacking in the ODI leg of the tour.

In particular, Stacy-Ann King batted with ferocious intent, plundering seven boundaries for a 34-ball 43 – the highest West Indian score of the tour so far – while Chedean Nation (32) joined the party with two huge sixes over deep midwicket. “We thought we had a decent score at the break but Windies pushed us hard and made us work for the win, which was a really good test for us.” Wyatt said.

The pair eventually both fell in the 13th over, though not before they had given England a scare. Ultimately, it was Linsey Smith who chipped in with a match-defining over – King trying one big hit too many, and caught at deep midwicket, before Smith then enacted a run out of Nation backing up four balls later. The left-arm spinner had also removed dangerwoman Hayley Matthews: not bad for her first outing of the international summer.

The contrast with West Indies’ own efforts in the field was striking. England’s innings was founded on a 67-run opening partnership from Amy Jones and Wyatt. However, West Indies could easily have snaffled the wickets of both in the opening five overs.

Matthews induced Jones into coming down the pitch in her opening over, only for keeper Kycia Knight to fumble a golden stumping opportunity behind the stumps. Shamilia Connell, meanwhile, forced several plays-and-misses from Wyatt before finally finding the edge – only for it to go begging, the culprit once again Knight behind the stumps.

The worst was still to come: seven balls later, standing at mid-off, Chinelle Henry grassed a sitter from the bat of Wyatt, and so the tone was set.

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Henry eventually broke the partnership in the ninth over, Jones dragging the ball onto her own stumps. Wyatt, though, simply added salt into Henry’s wounds, ruining her figures (she eventually conceded 33 runs off her four overs), and bringing up her 38-ball half-century against the demoralised bowler.

It all looks rather ominous for West Indies when the series – and their summer – reaches its conclusion at Derby on Tuesday.


Raf Nicholson at the County Ground, Northampton

The GuardianTramp

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