Hayley Matthews’s majestic captain’s innings guided the West Indies to a nerve-jangling ICC Women’s T20 World Cup win against Ireland in Cape Town.

The Windies skipper struck a decisive 66 not out and, assisted by Chinelle Henry’s critical contribution, helped haul her side to a six-wicket victory and inflict a difficult defeat on the Irish under the Friday night lights.

Orla Prendergast’s impressive 61 had fired Ireland to a competitive total of 137 for nine as Shamilia Connell starred with the ball for the Windies.

But Matthews and Henry (34) delivered a second innings masterclass to patiently chase down the target and help the West Indies, without Stafanie Taylor owing to a back injury, bounce back from defeats against India and England with just a single ball remaining in Group B.

Laura Delany won the toss and elected to bat – but her side suffered an almost immediate blow when Amy Hunter was dismissed in the second over.

Trishan Holder held a simple catch after the Irish opener had miscued and top-edged a Connell delivery.

But Prendergast and Gaby Lewis set about building the foundations for a recovery, putting on 90 for the second wicket before Prendergast went for a swashbuckling 61 – off just 47 balls – in the 13th over.

And the West Indies then struck twice in quick succession as Lewis (38) and Louise Little, who was unable to trouble the scorers, were removed in the space of three Karishma Ramharack deliveries.

Delany and Arlene Kelly then went in similarly speedy fashion as Afy Fletcher’s leg breaks helped derail the end of the Irish innings.

Eimear Richardson was caught and bowled by Matthews before Leah Paul and wicketkeeper Mary Waldron were removed from the final two balls of the innings.

That left the Windies with a total of 138 to win as openers Matthews and Rashada Williams responded with a steady start throughout the opening overs.

But Ireland grabbed the breakthrough from the penultimate ball of the powerplay when wicketkeeper Williams was runout after a sudden mix-up with her captain.

Incoming batter Campbelle survived a review shortly after but was soon dismissed by Delany when the Irish skipper’s crafty medium pacers trapped her in front for just eight.

Matthews and Henry continued to chip away at the total, however, teeing up a tantalising final five overs with a composed third wicket partnership.

Kelly dropped Henry at mid-off during an economical-looking 16th over before the Windies No.4 made her pay with a much-needed boundary off the final delivery.

Henry looked in the mood to finish the job as quickly as possible but she was soon dismissed by Paul as Ireland, who spilt several chances throughout a frenetic second innings, finally held on to a catch.

That propelled Shabika Gajnabi into the heat of the Cape Town cauldron, who played an important brief cameo before being run out after another piece of confusion with Matthews.

But the Windies skipper held her nerve to clatter Delany over the covers for four and fire her side to victory.

White Ferns keeps semi-final hopes alive

New Zealand kept their faint semi-final hopes alive with an emphatic 71-run win over Bangladesh at Newlands.

Suzie Bates’s superb 81 runs runs set the White Ferns on their way to a first victory of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2023, validating their decision to bat first with a tournament-high 189 for three.

That proved far too much for the Tigresses, whose chances of a miraculous victory fell away after losing two wickets early in their reply, as they stuttered to 118 for eight.

Needing a big win to stand a chance of progressing to the last four, New Zealand opted for a hit and run approach from the off.

Bernadine Bezuidenhout started the innings with purpose, guiding a wide and fullish first ball from Marufa Akter down to the third man boundary.

That set the tone for a positive start which bordered on overzealous at times, with Bates likely to have been run out but for a poor throw inside the inner ring.

The White Ferns’ former captain started patiently, but after passing Australia’s Meg Lanning for most runs at Women’s T20 World Cups, soon found her stride.

Bezuidenhout kept her foot on the pedal too, and finished the powerplay just as she had started, with a controlled stroke to the fence as New Zealand sat nicely poised at 49 for no loss after six overs.

The pair continued to motor, punishing each poor delivery, before Bezuidenhout was dismissed looking to charge Shorna Akter just six short of her half-century.

Amelia Kerr joined Bates in the middle and made a handy 16 before she was dismissed caught and bowled by Fahima Khatun.

Fahima’s celebrations were muted then but they were not just a ball later when she split the gap between Sophie Devine’s bat and pad, sending the New Zealand skipper back to the hut when she was just three runs short of 3,000 T20I runs.

But Bates refused to let the innings drift, and after reaching her 50 off just 43 balls, found the boundary with increasing regularity, as did Maddy Green, who helped pile on the runs in the closing stages.

The pair hit 60 runs off the final five overs to post a mammoth 189 for three, with Green finishing unbeaten on 44 and Bates not out on 81.

Requiring a record run-chase to keep their knockout hopes alive, Bangladesh came out all guns blazing, hitting 12 off the first over including a gargantuan six from Shamima Sultana.

But hopes of an extraordinary win soon faded, with Hannah Rowe sending Shamima and Sobhana Mostary back to the hut in consecutive overs.

As the required run-rate soared, the pressure mounted and Nigar Sultana was the next to fall, bowled by Kerr for eight with Pakistan 54 for three in the tenth over.

Shorna and Murshida Khatun offered some resistance, both passing 30, but it was never going to be enough to threaten New Zealand on the scoreboard.

A flurry of late wickets arrived before the close, three of which came to Eden Carson, as New Zealand closed out a brilliant day in style.

Devine’s side could still make the knockout stages if they secure another resounding win over Sri Lanka and results elsewhere go their way, while Bangladesh will head home after their final game against hosts South Africa.

Scores in brief:

West Indies beat Ireland at Newlands Cricket Ground, Cape Town by six wickets 

Ireland 137 for nine in 20 overs (Orla Prendergast 61, Gaby Lewis 38; Shamilia Connell 3/24, Karishma Ramharack 2/18)

West Indies 140 for four in 19.5 overs (Hayley Matthews 66 not out, Chinelle Henry 34; Leah Paul 1/26, Laura Delany 1/30)

Player of the Match: Hayley Matthews (West Indies)

New Zealand beat Bangladesh at Newlands Cricket Ground, Cape Town by 71 runs

New Zealand 189 for three in 20 overs (Suzie Bates 81 not out, Maddy Green 44 not out; Fahima Khatun 2/36, Shorna Akter 1/12)

Bangladesh 118 for eight in 20 overs (Shorna Akter 31, Murshida Khatun 30; Eden Carson 3/18, Hannah Rowe 2/15)

Player of the Match: Suzie Bates (New Zealand)