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Saturday, December 2, 2023

West Indies beat Australia in second T20 match after Hayley Matthews’ heroic century

Australia have fallen victim to the greatest women’s Twenty20 run chase of all time, with a big Hayley Matthews century helping the West Indies run down a target of 213 at North Sydney Oval.

In a mesmerising effort to level the three-match series at 1-1, Matthews blitzed 132 from 64 balls as the West Indies pulled off the victory with one ball and seven wickets to spare.

Stefanie Taylor hit 59 off 41 before being bowled by Megan Schutt with 28 runs required from three overs to give Australia a late glimmer of hope.

Matthews then hit 16 runs from Jess Jonassen in the 19th over before being bowled trying to sweep the spinner.

That left Chinelle Henry and Shermane Campbelle needing eight from Ashleigh Gardner’s last over, sealing the win when Campbelle took a quick two to long on.

“I don’t reckon any days of cricket have ever been like that for me,” Matthews said. “Today was quite incredible. I can’t find the words.”

The efforts topped Australian Phoebe Litchfield’s, who hit an 18-ball half-century to equal Sophie Devine’s record for the fastest in women’s T20 internationals.

But it was to be Matthews’ night. The right-hander powered the ball through and over cover-point at will, punishing Australia every time they went too wide and full on Monday.

She hit five sixes and 20 fours, with Jonassen, Tahlia McGrath, Georgia Wareham and Darcie Brown all going at more than 10 an over.

Eleven of Matthews’ fours and three of her sixes came between backward point and cover, as Australia opted not to put a fielder on the rope in that position for the majority of the innings while attempting to bowl straighter.

“When it comes down to the execution piece, we were just a little bit too wide for her,” captain Alyssa Healy said. “Off stump is probably too wide for her at the moment, so we probably just need to look at that.

“It’s hard to defend scores here. When two players get going on a wicket like that … It’s pretty hard to stop.”

Matthews brought up her century off 53 balls when she drove Schutt through backward point, before also dispatching her next two balls to the boundary.

It came after the 25-year-old also took 3-36 with the ball, taking a seventh straight player-of-the-match award in T20s after also hitting 99 in Sunday’s loss to Australia.

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