It was one of my big goals, says Hayley Matthews of scoring her first international century, that too in front of her home crowd.
A wonderful innings it was too, with the Windies 1-0 down going into the final ODI of their ICC Women’s Championship series against South Africa at Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados on Saturday, 22 September.
Stafanie Taylor, the Windies captain, won the toss and opted to bat, and Matthews, opening the innings, batted till the end of the 41st over to score 117 in 146 balls with 17 fours – her first century in international cricket. It helped the Windies seal a 115-run win.
#WIvsSA WINDIES Women won by 115 runs against South Africa in the 3rs ODI to square the series. The battle continues on Monday in the first T20 at Kensington Oval. #LetsGoWindies #ItsOurGame #WindiesCricket pic.twitter.com/N6QuX9rcEE— Windies Cricket (@windiescricket) September 23, 2018
Matthews, now 20, came into prominence at the ICC Women’s World T20 2016, when she slammed 66 in 45 balls in the final to help her team to the title. That, or this, which one’s the more memorable innings?
“I think they were both very important, both very crucial innings. The World Cup final was very important for me, seeing the team home. Doing it here, in front of the home crowd, being able to do it in front of so much family, so many friends … it was definitely a goal for me. Very honoured that I could come home and reach one of my very big goals,” said Matthews, the Player of the Match, afterwards.
Matthews didn’t have to do it all alone, of course. Captain Taylor chipped in with a 46, and Deandra Dottin swung her bat around hard to score 59 in just 44 balls to help the Windies put up a huge 292/5.
But it was the big innings by far, one that Taylor, who partnered Matthews for 176 runs for the second wicket, was impressed with. “Hayley played a splendid innings. Her thought process today was remarkable,” said Taylor. “In the morning, when she came into the ground, she went straight to the nets, hitting balls. In the warm-up, before we went in to bat, she hit some balls.
“So we knew she was ready and up for the fight. She batted really, really well to get us to that total.”
To be able to come back here and level the series … to get those two points on the board is very important for us
While it was Matthews’ first three-figure score for the Windies, Taylor has been there five times, all in ODIs, and knew just what to tell her younger colleague as the milestone neared.
“When she got into the 80s, I knew she was feeling a bit of cramps, I knew there might be some nerves as well. So I just said to her, ‘Just dig in, you need 20, just calm down’. Didn’t want to tell her not to look at the scoreboard, because you’re going to look at the scoreboard if you tell someone not to,” said Taylor.
“I was just telling her to keep the energy going, ‘you’re batting well, you’re playing straight’, you know, positive stuff to help her to get over that mark.”
The win was not only important from the series point of view, but, crucially, in the context of the ICC Women’s Championship. The two points helped the Windies get to nine points from nine games and the No.4 spot on the table, while South Africa were at No.7, with seven points from nine games.
“Our goal, when we came here to play against South Africa, was to win all three games. Unfortunately, we didn’t win the first one, and then the rain got the second one, but to be able to come back here and level the series … to get those two points on the board is very important for us. So, as a team, we’re really happy with that,” said Matthews.
Taylor, though, was not as happy with the situation as Matthews was, but that’s got to do with the loss in the first game, by 40 runs.
“I’m not 100 per cent satisfied, having lost the first game. I thought we had to go back to the drawing board because we know that South Africa has evolved and they’ve been playing good cricket over the past few years,” she said.
“That was a wake-up call for us, that we need to get things going and we need to get back to the drawing board and go back to the game that we know we could play.”