West Indies need answers for batting struggles to prevent England taking control of series

Isabelle Westbury
·2-min read
Stafanie Taylor managed 8 in the first T20
Stafanie Taylor managed 8 in the first T20

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 on Wednesday, in the second match of this five-match 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, the West Indies produced the game’s top scorer as Deandra Dottin returned to form with 69 off 59 balls. No one else from the West Indies reached double figures. 

"Somebody has to bat with her," England international and BBC commentator Alex Hartley told Telegraph Sport. "We haven’t seen Hayley Matthews get a score since that hundred against Ireland, which was more than ten 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 ten runs against England. "She is good enough," asserts 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 last ten completed innings, the 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 under-arm 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 last 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 the West Indies 26. One goal, it appears, to tick off the list.