Shafali Verma

MATCH-WINNING EFFORT: Indian teenager Shafali Verma, right, receives her ‘Player of the Match’ cheque from former West Indies Women’s captain Verena Felicien.

Fifteen-year-old Shafali Verma and opening partner Smriti Mandhana pummelled enterprising half-centuries to condemn a listless West Indies Women to an 84-run defeat in the opening Twenty20 International late Saturday night.

Player-of-the-Match Verma smashed a scintillating 73 from 49 balls while the classy Mandhana carved out 67 from 46 deliveries, innings that propelled the visitors up a challenging 185 for four off their 20 overs.

West Indies never threatened in their run chase and timidly subsided to 101 for nine off their 20 overs with Shemaine Campbelle the only batsman to show resistance with 33.

With the defeat, the Windies fell 1-0 behind in the five-match series, but had a chance to level when they faced India in the second match yesterday evening.

Verma and Mandhana snatched the game away from West Indies early when they dominated in a stroke-filled 143-run opening stand.

The right-handed Verma belted six fours and four sixes, racing to her maiden T20 half-century off 30 balls in the 10th over, while the left-handed Mandhana raised her landmark off 31 balls in the next over with a paddle sweep for four off leg-spinner Afy Fletcher.

Together, they raised the hundred off just 61 balls and West Indies had run out of ideas when Verma skied fast bowler Shakera Selman (2-36) to Kyshona Knight at cover point in the 16th over.

Mandhana, dropped on 39 at long off by Natasha McLean off Fletcher in the ninth over, finally holed out to long off with off-spinner and stand-in captain Anisa Mohammed (2-35) in the following over.

However, captain Harmanpreet Kaur belted a 13-ball 21 not out as India gathered precious runs towards the end.

In reply, West Indies lost Hayley Matthews cheaply in the second over after she hammered three fours in an eight-ball 13, bowled by one from seamer Shikha Pandey (2-22) which nipped back. And when McLean picked out Kaur at mid-off with left-arm spinner Radha Yadav’s (2-10) first ball, West Indies were 13 for two in the third over.

Chedean Nation struck a six – a clean blow over mid-wicket off Pandey – in a run-a-ball 10 but then drove the next ball to mid-off where Kaur took a running catch in the sixth over.

Campbelle, who counted two fours and a six in a busy 34-ball knock, then put on 21 with Kyshona Knight (12) for the fourth wicket and a further 24 for the fifth wicket with Stacy-Ann King (13), to keep the innings afloat.

However, at 61 for four at the half-way stage, the required run rate of over 12.5 an over proved to much for the Windies and they managed only 40 runs over the last 10 overs.

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