Women's T20 World Cup: England open campaign with seven-wicket win over West Indies
Paarl: England began their Women's T20 World Cup 2023 campaign with a comfortable seven-wicket victory over West Indies at Boland Park, here on Saturday.
After Sophie Ecclestone had led the way with the ball to hold West Indies to 135/7, England made easy work of the chase, with Nat Sciver-Brunt top-scoring with a classy 40 and both Sophia Dunkley (34) and Heather Knight (32 not out) also impressing.
The power of England's top three has been much-heralded leading into the tournament, and Dunkley lived up to her reputation as she tore into the West Indies attack in the Powerplay. Danni Wyatt did fall for 11 from 9, but England brought up their fastest fifty in a T20 World Cup inside five overs.
It was going to take something special to remove Dunkley, and Henry delivered, snaffling a stunning return catch to send the opener packing for 34 from just 18 balls.
But the quality of England's experienced middle order took advantage of the platform laid for them, with Nat Sciver-Brunt and Heather Knight easing England to victory with five and a half overs remaining.
Earlier, decent knocks from Hayley Matthews and Shemaine Campbelle helped West Indies to a competitive total after winning the toss and opting to bat first.
West Indies were able to recall Stafanie Taylor after a long absence, but the veteran struggled for timing and fell for a 15-ball three in the seventh over. Yet with Matthews out in the middle, West Indies looked in great shape, with the captain racing through the Powerplay.
Ecclestone struck to remove Matthews for 42 from 32, and a sharp run-out continued the flow of wickets, but Shemaine Campbelle (34) and Chinelle Henry (14) put together a partnership worth 41 runs to ensure the target would at least be competitive.
Some fine fielding and a solid combined bowling display restricted West Indies at the death, as they finished on 135/7, which proved insufficient to test an in-form England on the day.