Aguilleira Guides West Indies Home In Low-Scoring Thriller
West Indies Women 90-8 (Aguilleira 34no) beat
Sri Lanka Women 87-8 by two wickets
First Twenty20 International, Colombo
Report by John Pennington
West Indian captain Merissa Aguilleira held her nerve to hit the winning runs from the final ball of the first Twenty20 International against Sri Lanka Women in Colombo.
In a low-scoring match, Sri Lanka posted 87 for eight but it needed Aguilleira's calm unbeaten 34 - including a boundary from the final ball - to guide the tourists to a two-wicket victory.
In a remarkable game dominated by the bowlers, only four players - two from either side - were able to reach double figures and the highest partnership of the match was 32.
That was posted by Eshani Kaushalya, who made 25 in 22 balls - an innings that included the only six of the game - and Dilani Manodara, who hit 17 not out.
Otherwise, it was single figures all round for Sri Lanka as Shakera Selman returned two for 14 and Tremayne Smartt, Stafanie Taylor and Subrina Munroe all took a wicket apiece.
Kaushalya, after hitting a new career-best, and Oshadi Ranasinghe, on debut, were run out; as well as Kaushalya's strike over the boundary, there were just four fours scored as runs were exceptionally hard to come by.
It was just as difficult for West Indies when they came to bat. Kaushalya, who had a fine all-round game, quickly removed Kycia Knight (8), Natasha McLean (1) and Shemaine Campbelle (3), taking three for 18 to reduce them to 22 for three.
When Deandra Dottin was dismissed by Chamini Seneviratne for five, it was 27 for four and it took a partnership of 31 between Taylor (25) and Aguilleira to keep the West Indies in the game.
Taylor made 25 in 34 balls. In the context of this game, it was a priceless innings but her dismissal, run out by Ranasinghe threw the game into the balance once more.
The runs were being ticked off slowly by West Indies but as the wickets of Kyshona Knight (2), Shanel Daley (2) and Smartt (1) fell, Aguilleira was left increasingly short of options, but she was able to keep her head and guide her side to victory, helped by Selman, unbeaten on one at the other end.
Needing two to win from the last delivery, Aguilleira went two better by hitting the ball to the boundary to put her side 1-0 up in the five-match series, closing on 34 in 39 balls. The second game is on Sunday (2nd March).
© Cricket World 2013
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