Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) broke another barrier with the introduction of women’s cricket to the marque tournament when the inaugural National Lotteries Control Board (NLCB) Women’s T10 Challenge was played on Thursday, October 10 at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba, Trinidad and Tobago.
West Indies Women’s Captain Stafanie Taylor, who was also the captain of the NLCB Revellers, won the toss after a rain delay and opted to bowl in cool afternoon conditions on the big outfield against Courts Gladiators. The game was played on the same pitch that was later used by Trinbago Knight Riders and Barbados Tridents in the men’s second qualifier and proved to be a good strip for batting.
The Gladiators were off to a bad start when Sheneta Grimmond was clean bowled by seamer Caneisha Isaac at the end of the second over for a duck at 7-1. Opener Hayley Matthews was then joined by Kycia Knight for the partnership of the match. The Barbadian pair put on 54 for the second wicket before left-hander Knight was caught low down by Britany Cooper at long on for 24 (20 balls; 1 x4; 1 x6) in the ninth over with the score at 61-2.
Matthews, who hit seven boundaries from 33 balls, carried her bat for a game-high 46 not out as the Gladiators ended on 74 for 2 from their 10 overs with Quiana Joseph not out on one at the end. Right-arm medium pacers, Isaac (1-13) and Chinelle Henry (1-13) were the successful bowlers while off-spinners Taylor (0-11), Anisa Mohammed (0-13) and Karishma Ramharack (0-9) and left-arm seamer Stacy-Ann King (0-15) were wicketless.
In reply, the Revellers raced to 28-1 half-way through the fourth over before King was adjudged lbw to Gladiators skipper Afy Fletcher for 15 (12 balls; 3x4s). Taylor, who was having a good day at the office, then went to work and blasted an 18-ball 36 (6×4’s) to hasten the run chase which ended at 78 for 2 in 9.2 overs. With opener Britany Cooper, Taylor put on 46 from 31 balls before she was taken at backward point by Akeira Peters off Matthews in the ninth over at 74-2 when scores were levelled.
Cooper then easily dispatched medium pacer Shakiba Gajnabi for a four back over her head to end the game on 22 not out from 25 balls. It was victory for the Revellers by eight wickets with four balls to spare, but women’s cricket is the bigger winner having made its debut on the CPL stage.
Off-spinner Matthews (5-1) and leg-spinner Fletcher (26-1) were the wicket-takers for the Gladiators, who will have another opportunity to level the series on Saturday when the teams meet again ahead of the men’s final.
At the end of the match, Taylor welcomed women’s cricket at CPL while Fletcher is optimistic that young girls and more spectators will come out and support their game.
Four of the five Guyanese players – Grimmond, Erva Giddings, Gajnabi, Kaysia Shultz made their debut while Cherry-Ann Fraser will look to break in to the team on Saturday.
Saturday’s game is dubbed Courts Invitational and will bowl off at 12:30h at the same venue. (John Ramsingh)