Hayley Matthews’ unbeaten half-century knocked Ireland out of the T20 World Cup as the West Indies secured a six wicket victory in Cape Town.
With both teams having lost their opening two games, the meeting was a must-win clash for either side, yet despite Orla Prendergast’s half-century helping set the Windies a target of 138, captain Matthews was able to steer her side home.
Although Amy Hunter was dismissed early, Ireland dominated the early stages of their innings with Gaby Lewis and Prendergast putting on a 90-run partnership, but the wickets quickly began to tumble when Shamilia Connell found the breakthrough to get Prendergast out.
Karishma Ramharack then struck twice in the 16th over, dismissing Lewis (38) and Louise Little (without scoring) before Afy Fletcher picked up two wickets in an over, getting Laura Delany and Arlene Kelly out and Ireland were reduced to 137 for nine.
Good bowling from Prendargast and Jane Maguire restricted the West Indies in the powerplay, but a pivotal moment in the game saw Matthews dropped on nine in the fifth over and the captain then began to drag her side back into the game.
A cameo of 34 from Chinelle Henry helped as the match ran down to the wire with Windies needing six runs from the final over. Matthews smashed a four to win the game with a ball to spare and ended a fine knock of 66 runs off 53 balls.
The result sees the West Indies still keeping their hopes alive and Matthews told Sky Sports afterwards that there was “a lot of pressure” throughout the game.
“I am the captain and one of the leaders in the batting line-up, we needed someone at the top to bat through the innings and I took that role on today,” she said.
“There was definitely a lot of pressure, we knew it was a score where we’d need someone to bat really deep. Kudos to the Irish girls, they bowled well and bowled in some good areas, I am really proud of the girls and teams too.”