“I’m pretty sure Alyssa would’ve had conversations with her bowlers,” says Hayley Matthews

West Indies skipper Hayley Matthews absolutely rattled the minds of Australian bowlers as she raced her way to score a total of 231 runs from 2 innings on back-to-back days. In the first T20I between Australia and West Indies, Hayley played a blinder of a knock and agonizingly she missed out on her well-deserved century by just 1 run.

Alyssa Healy greets Hayley Matthews after her special knock during 2nd T20I. PC: Getty Images
Alyssa Healy greets Hayley Matthews after her special knock during 2nd T20I. PC: Getty Images

Australian captain Alyssa Healy had set a field such that off-side was not a viable option for Hayley to score runs. Just like all the world-class batters do, Hayley capitalized on this fielding set by the Australian skipper, as she smashed all four of her sixes in the square leg region. Hayley further smashed 3 fours in the same region. In the end, Hayley accumulated close to 40 runs from the square leg region.

In the next match, Hayley went one step further, as she notched up her 2nd international hundred. This time, Alyssa Healy left the cover region open for Hayley, and she accepted this gift with both hands as she racked up 77 runs in the covers region. This counted for more than 58% of Hayley’s total runs. 3 out of 5 of her sixes were in the covers region, meanwhile, 14 of her 20 fours also came in the covers region, while the rest 6 were hit behind the sticks.

Acknowledging the same, Hayley stated, “I’ve been striking them really well no matter what part of the ground I’ve been trying to access. The last game was obviously cover, the game (before) I went through the square a lot, and if a different area of the field opens up, I want to be prepared so I can access it right around 360.

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“I’ve been working really hard on my game for this reason. I’m pretty sure they’ll go back and look pretty hard at the footage and definitely have some different game plans that I’ve got to be wary of, and I need to be prepared to change my game plan in the next match as well.”

Giving Hayley Matthews an open off-side is pretty much a rookie mistake, and it was a bit shocking to see this error done by the World Champions. But the blame was not solely on the Australian captain, as even the bowlers failed to stick to their plans and execute them appropriately. The Australian bowlers bowled a lot of freebies which made it easy for Hayley to whack it over the covers region.

As anyone would, Hayley too expects the Aussies to fight back, and speaking ahead of the series decider which takes place on 5th October, Hayley commented, “I’m pretty sure Alyssa (Healy, Australia captain) would’ve had conversations with her bowlers, and I’m pretty sure from being a captain myself the plan was to probably bowl straighter. But I know how tough it can be as a captain when the bowlers don’t hit where they need to, or closer to the stumps. But at the same time, I might’ve got one or two of them off the stumps and overcover as well.”

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In just 2 games, Australia has conceded the highest number of runs from a batter in a T20I series in the shortest format of the game.

The onus will now be on the Australian skipper and the bowlers to come up with a perfect plan to restrict Hayley from being her usual self.

(Quotes sourced from cricket.com.au)

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