West Indies women are T20 queens
West Indies claimed their first Women’s World Twenty20 with a pulsating eight-wicket win over Australia in Kolkata.
Australia, seeking a fourth successive World T20 title, chose to bat and posted 148 for five, with Elyse Villani making the first half century in a final.
But 18-year-old Windies opener Hayley Matthews hit a stunning 66 off 45 balls with three sixes, in an opening stand of 120 with captain Staphanie Taylor.
The Windies won with three balls to spare and will hope for a T20 double in the men’s final with England later.
West Indies had lost all of their eight previous T20 internationals against Australia and in their first final they made a nervous start bowling at the iconic Eden Gardens.
Villani (52) seized on some wayward full tosses to reach her fifty from 34 balls.
Australia skipper Meg Lanning hit three successive fours in her 52 and the elegant Ellyse Perry dispatched two glorious straight drives for six in a cameo 28.
Having fought back by conceding only a single from the final over they bowled, the Windies made a slow start to their reply, scoring three from the first two overs.
But Matthews and skipper Stafanie Taylor hit 16 from the fifth over, bowled by Perry, and recorded their century partnership in the 14th over.
Matthews was caught with 29 more runs required from 26 balls and Taylor’s 59 ended with only five left to score from eight deliveries.
Three were needed from the final over and victory was secured after a routine run-out opportunity turned into an overthrow, to spark exuberant West Indian celebrations, joined by the men’s team who were arriving for their final with England.
It continued a welcome resurgence for West Indian cricket, after the Under-19 team beat India to win the 50-over World Cup in February.