West Indies facing uphill battle if Dottin again lacks assistance
Coming back from two sets down in a five-set match is the kind of feat that made Roger Federer the household name that he is. West Indies, should they lose tonight, in the second match of this fivematch T20I series against England, will need to produce something similar.
Finding their Federer, however, may not be enough. In their 47-run loss to England on Monday, West Indies produced the game’s top scorer as Deandra Dottin returned to form with 69 off 59 balls. But no one else from West Indies reached double figures.
“Somebody has to bat with her,” England international and BBC commentator Alex Hartley said. “We haven’t seen Hayley Matthews get a score since that hundred against Ireland, which was more than 10 innings ago. She’s always [opened the] batting and that’s the problem, once you have had one good score, everyone just remembers that.”
Matthews, whose name is hardly mentioned without her match-winning half-century in the World T20 final in 2016 featuring alongside it, has never scored more than 10 runs against England. “She is good enough,” says Hartley. “She’s just got to find her role. With the top three there is so much pressure on them.”
That top three, of Matthews, Dottin and captain Stafanie Taylor, are the only West Indies players to have entered the series averaging 20 or more. England, by contrast, have seven.
“It’s certainly an option, to change the batting line-up,” says Hartley. “If Taylor comes in at five or six, you instantly have more depth in their batting line-up.”
The rate of scoring is also a concern. In the past 10 completed innings, West Indies have not surpassed 140 runs and in Monday’s match ended their 20 overs on 116, but only six wickets down. Still, with a confident Dottin, the hope remains that this series will not be a repeat of last year’s whitewash.
Scoring heavily in the first six overs has been a core target of this England side, too. “[That innings] was a very long, long way away about four months ago,” said England opener Tammy Beaumont, who made 62 from 49. “When I got back to cricket, I got bowled by an underarm in my first session.
“Lisa [Keightley, England’s head coach] has asked us to try and go harder at the top of the order. It’s something we haven’t really nailed in the past couple of years.
“Obviously, Danni Wyatt’s been brilliant there for a number of years, but it’s a case of [me] doing the right thing for the team. I was quite nervous going into [Monday’s] match.”
England’s powerplay yielded 49 runs to West Indies’ 26. One goal, it appears, to tick off the list.
Threat: Deandra Dottin’s 69 was not enough to prevent defeat