Jamaican all-rounder Chinelle Henry produced a good bowling performance to lead West Indies to a thrilling one-run victory over New Zealand in the first of five T20 Internationals in Antigua on Wednesday.
Henry, bowling her medium pace, picked up three for 26 from her four overs as New Zealand – chasing 116 for victory – were restricted to 114 for nine off their allotted 20 overs.
In a low-scoring match, Henry’s new-ball spell proved decisive.
Henry got going when she trapped Suzie Bates lbw for five in the third to secure the first wicket of the New Zealand innings.
New Zealand were reduced to 25 for two in the fourth overs when Hayley Matthews had Georgia Plimmer holing out to long-on.
Henry returned in the fifth over to secure the wicket of captain Sophine Devine, caught at mid-on for 23, to have New Zealand reeling at 32 for three. In her previous over, Devine had lofted the Jamaican seamer over wide long-on for a six.
Henry then brilliantly caught Amelia Kerr off her own bowling for three and then saw Maddy Green run out two balls later. At that stage, New Zealand were struggling on 46 for five in seven overs and could not recover as spinners Matthews, Karishma Ramharack and Afy Fletcher further applied the pressure.
New Zealand approached the final over needing to get 20 runs with just one wicket remaining.
Hannah Rowe whipped Aaliyah Alleyne for four off the first ball to reduce the deficit to 12 from the final two deliveries. However, she could only manage 10 runs, a four and a six, to end on 27 not out from 21 balls, the top score for her team.
Earlier, New Zealand won the toss and put West Indies in. Alleyne joined Matthews in the middle after Natasha McLean departed without scoring and one run on the board.
Alleyne then took charge of the run-scoring as she looked like a woman on a mission, taking the odd boundaries that New Zealand offered up, but more importantly she seized the opportunities of quick singles or twos to keep the scorecard ticking.
Matthews departed for 15 then Chedean Nation for two. With wickets falling around her Alleyne soldiered on. But on 49 and within touching distance of her maiden T20I half-century, she chucked a Kerr delivery onto her stumps.
Rashada Williams added a quick 15 and Henry a run-a-ball 10, as the West Indies posted 115 all out in 20 overs.
Kerr was the pick of the New Zealand bowlers finishing with three for 16 off four overs, followed by Fran Jonas with two for 13.
“The coaches told us to go out there and be fearless,” said Henry, who was named Player of the Match. “We wanted more than 115 but that didn’t happen, so we went out there as a bowling unit to get the job done. Going into the second game, we’re obviously looking to improve in both batting and bowling. To see Aaliyah going out at number three and almost getting her maiden T20I half-century showed that we have a lot of depth in the squad, so it’s just for us to keep up that team performance.
Both teams meet on the weekend for the second and third T20Is.