Hayley Matthews, Kycia Knight’s all-round efforts deliver famous win for Barbados

Hayley Matthews and Kycia Knight starred for Barbados. © Getty Images

Hayley Matthews and Kycia Knight made their big match experience count as Barbados won their first ever match on the international stage by 15 runs vs. Pakistan after surviving a spirited all-round effort from Nida Dar in a Commonwealth Games match where their bowling and fielding strength came to the fore at Edgbaston in Birmingham on Friday.

Frenetic beginning

With both the teams making their debut in the tournament, the start was nervy and all action. Diana Baig was loose to begin with, bowling a wide and then conceding two fours in the first four deliveries to Deandra Dottin, who looked in ominous touch.

Baig had the last word though as Dottin perished for eight off just five deliveries after trying one lofted shot too many. Dottin could only hit the ball as far as the Pakistan skipper Bismah Maroof at cover.

Matthews and Knight lead from the front

Having lost their gun player early, Barbados needed the experienced duo of captain Hayley Matthews and wicketkeeper Kycia Knight to dig in and that is exactly what they did.

Matthews struggled to score freely right through her innings but she did not get frustrated, nor did she give her wicket away cheaply. Kycia was tentative to begin with, almost edging one to the keeper and also edging a couple to the third person boundary, but she ran hard between the wickets and put a lot of pressure on the Pakistan fielders.

Pakistan’s spinners bowled economically but none of them managed to pick a wicket as Matthews and Kycia seemed to make up their mind to wait for the faster bowlers to come on a pitch where the turn and bounce was inconsistent on multiple occasions.

After biding their time, Matthews and Knight stepped on the gas in the last five overs, with both players bringing up their fifties as well as the hundred run partnership. Matthews and Kycia put on a well-paced 107-run stand off 98 deliveries before Matthews was dismissed by Fatima Sana for 51 off 50 balls.

Fatima also went on to dismiss Kycia’s twin, Kyshona, and ran Aaliyah Alleyne out but she was the most expensive of the Pakistan bowlers. Kycia proved to be an immovable force though, finishing unbeaten on 62 off 56 balls as Barbados put 144 on the board off their 20 overs.

Connell brings her A game

Pakistan got off to the worst possible start in the chase as Iram Javed wafted aimlessly at a Shamilia Connell awayswinger to fall for a first ball duck after feathering a catch to Kycia.

It was a Matthews and Kycia show in the chase too as one or both of them were involved in each of the next three dismissals as Omaima Sohail was run out by the duo for 10 before Matthews cleaned up the dangerous Muneeba Ali for 17.

Pakistan kept losing wickets and captain Bismah Maroof, who also was the country’s flagbearer at the opening ceremony on Thursday, was bogged down by some very tight bowling as the experienced trio of Connell, Matthews and Shakera Selman gave nothing away.

Maroof was eventually run out for a laborious 12 off 28 balls after getting frustrated repeatedly by failing to turn the strike over.

Pakistan simply had too much to do after that as the asking rate ballooned out of reasonable proportions even as Nida Dar waged a trademark lone battle even as wickets kept tumbling at the other end.

Dar even copped a blow on the head off a bouncer but she started timing the ball even better than before after that. Dottin then nailed the harder length in the final overs to ensure a comfortable win for Barbados, taking a wicket off her final ball with Matthews fittingly taking the catch.

Dar finished with an unbeaten 50 off just 31 balls, but her lone battle was not enough on the day for Pakistan.

Barbados will take on fellow winners Australia on Sunday, while Pakistan will face India in a must-win clash.

Brief Scores: Barbados 144/4 in 20 overs (Kycia Knight 62*, Hayley Matthews 51; Fatima Sana 2/41) beat Pakistan 129/6 in 20 overs (Nida Dar 50; Hayley Matthews 1/13) by 15 runs