Patient Suzie Bates, bowlers help New Zealand draw level in the T20I series
Suzie Bates in action © Getty Images
A patient fifty from Suzie Bates and some smart running from the middle order batters helped New Zealand win the second T20I and level the five-match series at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound, Antigua on Saturday (October 1). Earlier, a stellar bowling effort from the visitors restricted West Indies to just 107.
Chasing a moderate score on a slower surface yet again, New Zealand openers – especially Sophie Devine – struggled to get going. Only two fours – both from the bat of Bates – came in the power play as the visitors meandered to 21 for no loss at the end of six overs.
Post the power play, Bates tried to break free as she took on Chinelle Henry to hit a couple of boundaries in the seventh over. However, that was followed by a couple of tight overs from West Indies bowlers.
Eventually the pressure told on Devine and she was dismissed to a caught and bowled by the off spin of Karishma Ramharack. It was a laborious effort from the New Zealand captain as she walked back for eight off 20 balls without finding the fence even once.
With New Zealand mirroring the West Indies effort from earlier in the day in the first ten overs, it was up to the duo of Bates and Amelia Kerr to hunt down the rest of the target.
ALSO READ: Chinelle Henry's early strikes put West Indies one up
Mounting required run rate made Bates move around the crease and access various spaces on the vast outfield, while Kerr found the fine-leg boundary with a half-scoop shoot.
36 runs came from the 11th to 15th over period and New Zealand needed 30 from the last five overs. Cherry-Ann Fraser gave away only five runs in the 16th over despite a couple of wides and Bates was still batting on 49 at the end of the over.
The veteran opener eventually brought up her 23rd T20I fifty from 57 balls – she also has a hundred in the format – off Shakera Selman. With more than run-a-ball still needed for a win, Bates moved to the off-side and found the wide long-on fence for another boundary. However, Selman came back with the wicket in the next ball to dismiss her for 54 off 61.
Fraser continued her good work to give away only two runs in her next over while New Zealand lost two wickets in it. First Kerr was given out caught behind – the batter seemed to indicate there was no edge – and then Maddy Green was out to a run out after a collision with the bowler.
With 17 needed off the last two overs, New Zealand scored ten from the penultimate over thanks to a boundary from Gerogia Plimmer.
Playing only in her second T20I, Fraser was tasked with bowling the final over, but Lauren Down used her experience to find a couple of braces in the third and fourth deliveries to level the scores and New Zealand got home with a ball to spare as she guided a delivery to cover and ran a quick single.
Earlier, put into bat, West Indies chose to drop Natasha McLean and Aaliyah Alleyne – who scored her career-best 49 in the first T20I – opened the batting with skipper Hayley Matthews. It was slow going once again for the hosts as Fran Jonas and Hayley Jensen restricted them in the power play.
Having given away only seven runs from the first three overs, New Zealand eventually struck with the wicket of Matthews in the fourth over with Jensen getting her to edge one to Izzy Gaze behind the wicket.
Kyshona Knight, batting at three, tried to get a move on a with a couple of boundaries in the sixth over as West Indies ended the power play on 28 for one.
However, in the next four overs only 14 runs came and West Indies lost Alleyne to Carson for 13. Soon Chedean Nation also followed her becoming Carson’s second wicket.
Although Knight picked up a couple of boundaries at the other end, Henry struggled to force the pace. West Indies were looking for a paltry score going into the final over with only 89 runs on the board. Knight, who scored five boundaries in her innings, walked back to the pavilion in the first ball of the 20th over as Jensen removed her for 42 off 48 balls.
But it was time for Henry to resurrect her innings and she hit the pacer for 14 runs in three consecutive balls including a six. Another bouncer from Jensen went over the head of Gaze and that four byes allowed West Indies to finish on 107 for five despite Henry getting out in the final ball of the innings. She made 24 off 22 balls.
For New Zealand, Jensen was the most successful bowler as she picked up three wickets for 24 runs, while Carson was frugal giving away only 12 runs from her four overs for her two scalps.
Brief Scores: West Indies 107/5 in 20 overs (Kyshona Knight 42; Hayley Jensen 3/24, Eden Carson 2/12) lost to New Zealand 108/4 in 19.5 overs (Suzie Bates 54, Amelia Kerr 21; Cherry-Ann Fraser 1/13) by 6 wickets