Alliance with Dottin key to Windies fortunes, says Matthews

Opener Hayley Matthews … put on 94 for the first wicket with Deandra Dottin against Sri Lanka.

GROS ISLET, St Lucia,  CMC – Hayley Matthews says her new partnership with veteran all-rounder Deandra Dottin will be crucial to West Indies’ batting success in the ongoing ICC Women’s Twenty20 World Cup.

The pair, brought together for the first time specifically for the tournament, put on an exhilarating 94 off 58 balls against Sri Lanka as West Indies posted 187 for five off their 20 overs – their highest-ever total in T20 Internationals and third highest by an team in a T20 World Cup.

Both batsmen are audacious stroke-players. Matthews is a sublime timer of the ball while Dottin a clean, powerful hitter, already with two international hundreds.

“That’s a very key role that we have to play at the top of the order,” the 20-year-old Matthews said following her top-score of 62 against the Sri Lankans.

 “We know the power-play is very, very important and if we can get the team off to good starts, it would really help us as we are going through the tournament and help us to get higher scores.” “I think today we showed that if we do get a good start it makes it easier for our batters in the bottom order to be able to come out and free up. I think all-round we had a pretty good game and it’s good we can showcase some good cricket.”

For the hosts, it was the first time their batting clicked for the series. Their previous scores had been disappointing, with 106 against minnows Bangladesh and 107 against South Africa.

Matthews, who had managed only six and eight in her previous innings, said the performance against Sri Lanka had proven many detractors wrong.

“For me, the most important thing is staying confident,” explained the all-rounder, who picked up the Player-of-the-Match honour after coming up with three wickets when Sri Lanka batted to earn the Windies an 83-run win.

“A lot of people were saying that our top order weren’t striking the ball very well so to be able to go out there and for not only myself, but Deandra to be able to get the team off to a good start was definitely a goal for us and we’re really happy with that.” Matthews, a tidy off-spinner, had not been required to bowl in the Windies’ previous two victories but with the business end of the tournament looming next week, the Barbadian said the stint against Sri Lanka had been important. “It was my first bowl and it was good to get some wickets,” she said. “Staf (captain Stafanie Taylor) brought me on at a crucial time when we wanted to close out the innings so for me, it was just good for me to loosen up my arm and get a bowl in case I’m needed in any of the other games.”

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