Priest, bowlers brush aside West Indies

New Zealand 151 for 2 (Priest 90, Bates 40*) beat West Indies 150 (Kyshona Knight 41, Fletcher 23*, Kasperek 3-17, Tahuhu 3-39) by eight wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Lea Tahuhu swung the new ball and removed West Indies’ openers © International Cricket Council

Offspinner Leigh Kasperek and seamer Lea Tahuhu skittled West Indies for 150 and set up New Zealand’s second win in four matches. Kasperek, playing her first ODI since February 2016, found drift, dip, and turn to befuddle the middle order after Tahuhu had made light work of the openers. Rachel Priest led the pursuit with a ferocious 90 off 55 balls, of which 80 came in boundaries. The eight-wicket victory – achieved with 190 balls to spare – not only boosted New Zealand’s net-run rate and lifted them to fourth place but also suggested West Indies had not recovered from Sunday’s hangover, when they crashed to 48 all out against South Africa. They are now languishing at the bottom of the points table with four losses in four matches.

Kasperek, who had been sidelined for the bulk of the last two seasons, with multiple fractures on her left hand’s little finger, showed no signs of rust and set to work immediately with the new ball. She found exaggerated drift in the air and rapped the pads of Kycia Knight with her first two balls. Then she looped one past the outside edge to claim a maiden. She would claim five more maidens.

The early damage, though, was done by Tahuhu. She struck in her second over when she slanted one across Kycia Knight and had her feathering behind. In her next over, she bounced out Hayley Matthews and tore to her right to snaffle a sharp return catch. Enter Kasperek, again. She was on the brink of a hat-trick in the 17th over, after removing Stafanie Taylor and Deandra Dottin off successive balls. New Zealand deployed a Test-match field for the hat-trick ball – two slips, a silly point, a forward short leg, a short cover, and short midwicket – but Merissa Aguilleira, featuring in her 100th ODI, somehow kept it out. At the end of that maiden over, Kasperek’s figures, believe it or not, read: 4-3-1-2, and West Indies were 53 for 4.
Two balls later, Chedean Nation spooned 16-year-old Amelia Kerr to short midwicket. West Indies were 53 for 5.

Aguilleira and Kyshona Knight then mounted some resistance with a 38-run stand for the sixth wicket. They were the only two batsmen to hit boundaries off Kasperek. Aguilleira struck the only six of the innings when she smote the offspinner over the midwicket boundary. But Kasperek held the next one back and drew Aguilleira out of her crease to have her stumped for 20 off 30 balls.

Instead of going for the jugular by drafting Tahuhu back, the captain Suzie Bates persisted with her change bowlers. Amy Satterthwaite was smacked for back-to-back boundaries, while Devine was milked for ones and twos. Kyshona Knight was also adventurous against Kerr before Holly Huddleston cleaned her up in the 40th over. The innings lasted only a further three more overs as Tahuhu returned and duly applied the finishing touches.

Rachel Priest hammered a 29-ball fifty © ICC/Getty Images

In all, West Indies scored 24 boundaries. New Zealand’s openers Priest and Bates alone hit 24 boundaries. Priest pounced on anything that was remotely short and wide, rattling three boundaries off debutant Akeria Peters’ first over. New Zealand raced past fifty in the eighth over when Priest firmly swept Taylor to the square leg boundary. Seven balls later, she raised her own fifty, off 29 balls, with a crunch down the ground. Such was the assault that the game seemed over by then. At the other end, Bates was happy to ride in Priest’s slipstream.

After nailing a variety of drives, Priest chipped Anisa Mohammed to extra cover with her side 31 runs away from victory. Two balls later, Devine exited, but Bates and Katey Martin completed the formalities.

West Indies’ batting lacked direction, their bowling was wayward, and their poor fielding did not help their cause either. No fewer than two catches were dropped in just 18.2 overs. All of that puts them all but out of the tournament.

“We haven’t really been playing much 50-over cricket,” Taylor said after the match. “A couple of New Zealand girls managed to get acclimatised. If you look at 50-over games, it’s been a while since we last played.

“In the past few games, the openers set up a platform but the middle order could not capitalise. It’s all about mindset (about the next game against Sri Lanka). We just have to look to play some positive cricket. We just have to play for some pride.”

Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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