Thursday, April 18, 2024

There’s no place like home

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All-rounder Hayley Matthews is hoping to make a memorable impact in her first international before a home crowd, when West Indies take on South Africa in the opening one-dayer of the three-match series today.

The 20-year-old is very familiar with Kensington Oval – a venue where she grew up watching her father Michael Matthews play at the storied Pickwick Cricket Club – and hopes she can put on a good performance in front of her family and friends.

“It’s great to be here … I actually grew up watching cricket here and playing here, so it’s a wonderful feeling to play my first match here in West Indies colours,” Matthews said.

“It should be a wonderful occasion – playing with my family and friends in the crowd – and seeing the faces of so many people I know. It’s special to play in front your home crowd and it would be good to get a big crowd to come and see us start the series against South Africa.”

No pressure

 

She added: “It’s no added pressure, it’s a matter of using the occasion as motivation to do something extra special in front of home fans.

“They’re a few of us from here in Barbados in the team for this series, so we all use it as motivation.”

Matthews made her international debut back in September, 2014 and has so far played 36 ODIs and 29 T20s.

Her finest hour came in the 2016 ICC Women’s World T20 in India when she took the Player Of The Match award in the final against Australia.

A classy right-hander, Matthews has scored four ODI half-centuries and taken 35 wickets with her steady off-spin, and is eyeing success in both departments over the next week.

“As an all-rounder, I will be looking to perform with bat and ball.

“I would like to get a hundred, or maybe even two or three in front of the home crowd. With the ball, I would like to just contribute and keep things tight,” Matthews noted.

The ODI Series will form part of the ICC Women’s Championship which is the basis of qualification for the 2021 Women’s World Cup in New Zealand.

West Indies have had mixed results so far and are sixth on six points while South Africa are seventh in the eight-team standings on four points.

Both teams will use the five-match Twenty20 series which follows immediately after the one-dayers, as a warm-up to the Women’s World T20 from November 9 to 24 in Guyana, St Lucia and Antigua.

Matthews said West Indies enter the series with the edge but would need to play consistently in order to emerge on top.

“South Africa is a very good team. Last time we played them in South Africa, we were able to get a 2-1 victory. So we’re hoping now that we’re playing on home soil – we know the pitches here better than anyone else. Hopefully, we can get a 3-0 victory in the ODI series and go up in the Championship. (CMC)

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