MUMBAI, India (CMC):
Gutsy West Indies defied the odds to beat Australia and book their place in the final of the Women's World Cup for the first time yesterday.
Facing defeat after being rolled over for a paltry to 164 all out off 47 overs, the Caribbean team dug deep, found the courage and resolve to shockingly bundle out the Aussies for 156 off 48.2 overs, and snatched a narrow eight-run victory in their final Super Six, second-round game.
"Words cannot express what I am feeling right now," said Merissa Aguilleira, the team's captain. "I am completely overwhelmed. We have been through a lot as a team. Our bowlers did a fantastic job today. I felt some panic happening in their camp and I think that's the time we started to attack them more. We realised that as long as we were bowling in correct areas, we would get wickets, and that's exactly what happened."
While all the batters generally struggled on the slow wicket, Player of the Match Deandra Dottin was the only one who was able to break the shackles and play freely.
"Deandra has a natural ability to stroke the ball well. It's a God-given talent. She is using it well, but she is not using it enough though," admitted Aguilleira.
It was the first time West Indies Women had beaten Australia in a one-day international and, ironically, will now face them again in Sunday's final for the cherished title of world champions.
Australia clinched their place in the final last Sunday when they defeated Sri Lanka by nine wickets.
The Windies' surprise victory also dashed England's chances of a spot in the final, after the defending champions had earlier beaten New Zealand by 15 runs.
aussie momentum lost
Australia were coasting seemingly towards victory at 130 for four in the 39th over when they suddenly ran aground, losing their last six wickets for 26 runs.
Off-spinner Stafanie Taylor proved her weight in gold with the ball, snatching two for 26 from her 10 overs to ignite the collapse. Left-arm spinner Shanel Daley had earlier removed both openers to finish with three for 22.
Earlier, choosing to bat first at the Middle Income Group Ground, West Indies owed their survival to aggressive Deandra Dottin, who slammed a typically exciting 60 from 67 balls to rally the innings. With the innings floundering badly from the start, Dottin arrived at number seven to strike 10 fours and a six and give her side a much-needed boost.
She posted 43 for the eighth wicket with 17-year-old Shaquana Quintyne, whose 15 from 48 balls was equally invaluable, preventing the Aussies from mopping up the tail swiftly.
The Windies were undermined by 17-year-old fast bowler Holly Ferling, who helped wipe out the top order with three for 27, and fellow seamer Megan Schutt who finished with three for 50.
Already with a loss to Australia in the warm-up fixtures, West Indies again started tentatively and lost wickets at regular intervals to slip to 36 for three in the 11th over, despite Natasha McClean's brisk 26 from 34 balls.
They then lost the prolific pair of Taylor (five) and Kyshona Knight (eight) in quick succession to further slide to 59 for five in the 19th over.
Dottin and Aguilleira (seven) added 27 for the sixth wicket, the first meaningful partnership of the game, but she and Daley then fell within 11 balls of each other with six runs added, to reduce the Windies to 92 for seven.
However, Dottin and Quintyne then combined to give their side a fighting chance.