CRICKET-WOMEN-LEAD Henry, Alleyne shine as Windies edge NZ in the opener

Chinelle Henry … grabbed a three-wicket haul.

NORTH SOUND, Antigua– West Indies Women’s penchant for dramatic finishes continued here Wednesday, the hosts snatching a one-run win over New Zealand Women in the opening Twenty20 International.

Defending a meager 116, the hosts entered the final over at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground with their noses in front, especially with the visitors nine wickets down and requiring 20 runs.

However, Hannah Rowe made the game interesting with a bold unbeaten 27 from 21 balls, lashing the first delivery from seamer Aliyah Alleyne for four before trading singles with Fran Jonas (one not out) and then pinching a couple to leave New Zealand Women needing 11 runs from the last two deliveries to tie the encounter.

The 25-year-old right-hander injected fear into the Caribbean side by smashing the fifth delivery for four and the final delivery for six, New Zealand Women coming within a whisker.

“We wanted more than 115, of course, but that didn’t come, and we went out as a bowling unit – every single person – [and worked hard],” said seamer Chinelle Henry, who snatched three for 26 from her four overs.

“The coach (Courtney Walsh) always says bowling doesn’t work without fielding, and I think the other ten players and I went out there and got the job done.”

Alleyne had earlier shone with the bat, top-scoring with 49 from 37 deliveries, including seven fours, as West Indies Women were dismissed for 115 off 20 overs.

The hosts lost Natasha McLean without scoring to the second ball of the innings with a single run on the board, but Alleyne added 66 for the second wicket with captain Hayley Matthews (15) and stabilizing the innings.

Once Matthews perished, however, the innings collapsed quickly, with the last nine wickets going down for 48 runs.

Leg-spinner Amelia Kerr, 21, grabbed three for 19, while 18-year-old left-arm spinner Jonas (2-13) and veteran slow medium Sophie Devine (2-15) picked up two wickets apiece.

In reply, New Zealand Women suffered a top order collapse even though captain and opener Devine hit 25 from 18 balls and were languishing at 75 for eight in the 15th over at one stage.

Henry made the critical strikes, removing Devine and her experienced opening partner Suzie Bates for five, while leg-spinner Afy Fletcher chipped in with two for 18 from four excellent overs.

Rowe then revived the innings in a 21-run, ninth-wicket partnership with wicketkeeper Isabella Gaze (15) before hitting a few lusty blows at the end.


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