Hayley Matthews of the West Indies
Australian players celebrate the key wicket of West Indies captain Hayley Matthews for 79. Image by Jono Searle/AAP PHOTOS
  • cricket

Matthews threatens before Aussies clinch T20 series

Murray Wenzel October 5, 2023

Hayley Matthews threatened to pull off another improbable run chase before Australia exposed the West Indies’ underbelly to secure a relieving Twenty20 series win.

The hosts set Matthews’ side 191 for victory at Allan Border Field in Brisbane on Thursday night.

Australia, eventually, won in a canter, bowling West Indies out for 143 with one ball to spare to claim the series 2-1.

But that was not before Matthews launched her third successive mission to give Australia a mighty scare.

Starting slowly, the captain exploded after the sixth over and reached 50 off just 29 balls.

A huge six over mid-on followed and the West Indies were 0-89 after 10 overs.

Matthews had scored 132 in Sydney on Monday to steer her side past Australia’s 6-212 and level the series 1-1.

A landmark first series win against Australia looked in reach until Mathews, who made an unbeaten 99 in the first game, finally slipped up.

She skyed a delivery from Darcie Brown (3-20 off four) to Phoebe Litchfield at cover and was out for 79 off 40 balls, with the West Indies still needing 94 off 56.

But the WIndies then lost 5-7 after that to snuff out any remaining hope, fellow opener Shabika Gajnabi’s horror mix-up compounding things after she had stuttered to 16 off 27 balls.

“I knew for sure we were in for a shot,” said Matthews, who picked up a staggering eighth-straight player of the match award.

“Unfortunately Darcie Brown kind of outsmarted me and it didn’t go to plan after that.

“The momentum was definitely on our side at that point in time.”

Brown used a variety of slower balls in her spell to great effect.

“It was nice to see her not be out in the middle, to be honest,” Brown said of Matthews.

“She’s been in amazing form and still made 70-odd night

“It could have gone one or two ways there, definitely some sort of relief.”

Earlier, Tahlia McGrath pummelled 11 fours and two sixes to all parts in her innings of 65 off just 34 balls as Australia made 9-190.

Her 80-run stand with Ellyse Perry (40 off 30) put Australia in the box seat after opener Beth Mooney was run-out for three and captain Alyssa Healy (18 off 12) wasted her bright start.

Stafanie Taylor dropped McGrath over the boundary rope to take her to 50, but held on to a tougher chance soon after to halt the onslaught.

Perry soon followed Ash Gardner, before Litchfield (36 off 17) again proved an effective finisher with some unconventional strokeplay.

Australia dropped Queensland spinner Jess Jonassen for the series decider, with pace bowler Kim Garth added in the only change to the side.

The sides begin a three-game 50-over series in Brisbane on Sunday, Matthews confident she’ll feature despite feeling tightness in her quadriceps.