Hayley Matthews expects Australia’s bowlers to change their plans – and fields – but the West Indies skipper reckons she’s in good enough form to counter them as a historic series victory beckons.
Thursday’s third Twenty20 clash in Brisbane will centre on how the hosts handle red-hot opener Matthews, who clubbed 132 off 64 balls in a record run chase to level the series on Monday night.
She also made 99 not out in a game-one loss and has won player of the match in an incredible seven straight games.
Australia captain Alyssa Healy persevered with fielders inside the ring on the offside on Monday, but her bowlers were unable to keep to the straighter line required on the tiny North Sydney Oval.
Matthews obliged, flaying 11 fours and three sixes between backward point and cover.
“A job of a captain is hard,” Matthews said when asked what she expects on Thursday night at Allan Border Field.
“I’m pretty sure Alyssa would have had conversations with her bowlers, pretty sure from being captain myself the plan was to bowl straighter.
“But I know how tough it can be as a captain when bowlers don’t hit where they need to.
“I’m pretty sure they’re going to go back and look pretty hard at the footage and at what happened and definitely have some different game plans.”
The bigger square boundaries will add another element of intrigue to the contest as West Indies seek their first series win over the champion side.
“I’ve been striking them really well no matter what part of the ground I’ve been trying to access,” Matthew said.
“Have it be that a different area of the field opens up, I (am confident) I can access right around, 360 (degrees).”
Monday’s loss marked Australia’s third defeat in their last four T20s, having previously enjoyed a 12-match winning streak before being shocked twice by England in this year’s Ashes.
Matthews said increased investment from rival nations in their women’s programs was starting to reap rewards.
“That’s what is going to close the gap,” she said.
“Australia just got way ahead of the game because their board made a big, early investment and we saw them go from strength to strength.
“We’re going to see that gap closing.
“It’s going to take some time for other teams to catch up but it’s good we’re seeing results thrown up around the world.
“For us, we didn’t want to play with any fear at all, even before we won a game.
“We know the quality they have; we try not to be afraid of that and, like I keep saying, be up for the challenge.”
The sides will also contest a three-match 50-over series, beginning in Brisbane on Sunday.