Sunshine Girls closer than ever to top three - Vangelee Williams

By October 31, 2018

Captain Vangelee Williams believes the Sunshine Girls are inching ever closer to the likes of New Zealand, Australia and England, following their silver-medal finish in the recent Fast5 tournament in Australia.

Jamaica defeated eventual champions New Zealand and world number three England on their way to Sunday’s final where they were edged 34-33. To Williams, this latest showing by the Sunshine Girls is ample evidence that the Caribbean queens are not that far off becoming the best in the world.

“We are definitely closing the gap on the top three. We’ve had some good run outs against Australia, New Zealand and England in this year alone, and it really showed our growth as a unit,” she said.

“Losing by one point always hurts the most but we are grateful for the opportunity to play in our second Fast5 final ever! We have played in the FastNet version once, so that showed us that we are still able to compete with the best of the best and compete well.”

However, the 26-year-old goal defence, who has won two Commonwealth bronze medals and now three medals at Fast 5, said there are some key areas in which the team needs to improve, especially in the Fast5.

“For the Fast5 version, it’s just to keep improving on our long-range shots, because that’s necessary to have. Shanice Beckford was awesome for us again this year and the support of the other shooters was admirable,” she said.

She also indicated that the team could have done a better job in the finals on Sunday.

At the start of the fourth quarter, Jamaica trailed by nine points. They were outscored 10-5, 10-7, and 8-7, respectively, in the previous three quarters, before they rallied to win the final stanza 14-6 but still fell short by a point.

“What we could have done earlier was taken better care of the possessions we gained on their centre passes; be more disciplined in our power play, knowing when to take the one that was now a two, instead of rushing for the two-point shot, and also manage the clock better.”

These lessons will prove valuable for a team with ambitions of winning a world title in the summer of 2019, but 2018 has been a year when the Sunshine Girls would have seen what is possible.

In addition to the medals at the Fast5 and the Commonwealth Games, in March they beat New Zealand three times on their way to winning the Tiani Jamison Trophy. It was the first time a team had gone into New Zealand and beaten the Silver Ferns to claim the trophy.

“This has been a great year! It just makes us hungrier to cross that line,” Williams said. “We know we have the team to do it (but) it is what happens on the day in the tough moments that will count. So we are pretty confident in what we do and we can’t wait to show the world our game.”

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

Related items

  • Record-breaking Devine continues brilliance in Perth Record-breaking Devine continues brilliance in Perth

    Sophie Devine once again proved unstoppable as her sixth consecutive 50+ score steered New Zealand to victory in their ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 opener against Sri Lanka.

    Chamari Atapattu (41) and Hasini Perera’s 60-run first wicket - Sri Lanka’s best opening partnership in T20Is - gave them a bright start but Hayley Jensen’s career-best bowling sent middle-order wickets tumbling at the WACA.

    It took time for New Zealand to get the 128-run chase going but captain Devine led by example, becoming the only player, male or female, to register more than five consecutive 50+ scores in the format, en route to the seven-wicket victory.

    The Sri Lanka openers put on an impressive 60 for the first wicket, with Devine, Leigh Kasperek and Lea Tahuhu all unable to find a Powerplay breakthrough.

    But up stepped teenager Amelia Kerr to cause problems on the fast track, the 19-year-old claiming the first wicket of the evening when she bowled Perera for 20 in the eighth over.

    Perera didn’t fall without her fine moments though, her scoop over wicket-keeper Rachel Priest giving the Sri Lankan contingent at the WACA plenty of reason to cheer.

    Atapattu’s 41, which included five fours and two sixes, built a solid base but the Sri Lanka captain was caught and bowled by the pacey Tahuhu.

    The White Ferns were able to put the brakes on thereafter, Jensen claiming two wickets in an over when Anushka Sanjeewani’s attempt over the top was caught by Bates running back before Devine caught Shashikala Siriwardena at short mid-wicket.

    Nilakshi de Silva was the next to fall as the middle-order crumbled, Kerr taking the catch at backward point for Devine’s first wicket before the spinner got a second breakthrough of her own.

    Harshitha Madavi kept fighting with an unbeaten 27 off 26 balls but Sri Lanka finished at 127 for seven as Jensen bagged her third.

    The White Ferns chase started slowly, openers Devine and Priest failing to take advantage of the Powerplay before the latter was run out by Madavi for six.

    Held at 25 for one after six overs, New Zealand were lagging a fair way behind Sri Lanka who were 51 without loss at the same stage, with Devine not at her fluent best.

    But the skipper ground it out in Perth, joining up with Bates for a 40-run second-wicket stand to steady the ship.

    Bates perished at the hands of Kavisha Dilhari but Maddy Green came in at four and guided the chase superbly, taking the pressure off her skipper with a career-best 29 off 20.

    With less than a run-a-ball required, Devine finally freed her arms – two sixes finishing off the chase with two overs to spare as the White Ferns tasted early success in Group A.

    Scores in brief

    New Zealand beat Sri Lanka by seven wickets, WACA Ground, Perth

    Sri Lanka 127-7, 20 overs (Chamari Atapattu 41; Hayley Jensen 3-16, Amelia Kerr 2-21)
    New Zealand 131-3, 17.4 overs (Sophie Devine 75 not out, Maddy Green 29; Kavisha Dilhari 1-19)

  • Southee says Pant run out crucial for Black Caps against India Southee says Pant run out crucial for Black Caps against India

    Tim Southee pointed to Rishabh Pant's run out as the moment New Zealand took control of the first Test against India at Basin Reserve.

    Pant signalled his intent with a six in the first over of the second day, but a dreadful mix-up with Ajinkya Rahane left him high and dry, albeit a superb direct hit from Ajax Patel played its part.

    India lost five wickets for just 43 runs to crumble to 165 all out before lunch, and Kane Williamson's 89 was influential in New Zealand posting 216-5 at the close of day two for a lead of 51.

    "I think the run out of Pant was a big play this morning," said Southee, who was bowling at the time and finished with 4-49.

    "With him being such a dangerous player, especially leading into the second new ball, he could score really quickly along with Jinks [Rahane].

    "We knew that once we could open up an end and face the bowlers, Jinks would look to play a bit more aggressively and that brings you into a play a bit more.

    "I think the way we bowled this morning was pretty good."

    Williamson fell short of what would have been a welcome century after a difficult time in the 3-0 series defeat to Australia.

    But the captain's stand of 93 with Ross Taylor (44) – playing his 100th Test – put the Black Caps in a promising position that Southee hopes the hosts can build on.

    "You always want your best players to be at the crease. They [Williamson and Taylor] put on a great partnership, both looking nice for a long period of time," he added. 

    "If we can carry on and keep chipping away with the guys to come then it will set us up."

    India fought back late in the day with three wickets in the final session and Ishant Sharma's (3-31) performance was particularly important.

    Sharma arrived late in New Zealand due to his recovery from a torn ankle ligament and he has been coping with jet lag.

    Southee paid tribute to the right-arm quick, saying: "He's been a word class bowler for a long time.

    "When you're slightly underdone in terms of preparation and having an injury coming into the series, you can call on previous experience.

    "He has played 90-odd Test matches and he knows what he needs to do to get himself right for a Test match, and when the preparation isn't ideal, he is able to find ways to perform like he has."

  • Williamson's New Zealand earn lead but India strike back with late wickets Williamson's New Zealand earn lead but India strike back with late wickets

    Kane Williamson fell short of a century as New Zealand earned a 51-run lead but India struck back with late wickets on day two of the opening Test.

    New Zealand captain Williamson scored 89 runs to help the Black Caps to 216-5 against touring India at stumps in Wellington on Saturday.

    But India claimed three wickets during the final session – including the scalp of Williamson – to regain some ground before bad light stopped play after New Zealand threatened to surge clear.

    The opening day at Basin Reserve was ended by rain on Friday, with India reduced to 122-5 through just 55 overs due to wet weather.

    New Zealand debutant Kyle Jamieson (4-39) starred on day one and he was among the wickets again as India were bowled out for 165 before lunch on Saturday – Virat Kohli's visitors losing 43-5.

    Rishabh Pant (19) and Ajinkya Rahane (46) returned to the crease attempting to revive India's flagging innings but an awful mix-up and a stunning piece of fielding from Ajax Patel sparked the Black Caps.

    Pant was left high and dry following Patel's direct hit and the wickets kept tumbling for India as New Zealand paceman Tim Southee took centre stage with figures of 4-49.

    Southee dismissed Ravichandran Ashwin (0) first ball and then secured the prized wicket of Rahane before sending Mohammed Shami back to the pavilion for 21, while Jamieson had Ishant Sharma (5) caught behind.

    The Black Caps navigated a tricky period prior to lunch with the bat, but opener Tom Latham (11) soon fell victim to Sharma (3-31) and the latter then skittled Tom Blundell (30) to leave New Zealand 73-2.

    Williamson and Ross Taylor, however, combined for a valuable 93-run partnership to lead the hosts to 166-3 before Sharma removed Taylor just six runs shy of a half-century.

    Black Caps skipper Williamson, who posted his 32nd Test fifty, was 11 runs short of another ton after slicing a Shami (1-61) delivery to substitute fielder Ravindra Jadeja.

    One more wicket fell as stumps approached, Henry Nicholls sent packing by Ashwin (1-60) as BJ Watling (14 not out) and Colin de Grandhomme (4 not out) ended the day unbeaten in the middle.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.