Thursday, May 23, 2024

CWI: Hayley Matthews named Wisden’s leading Twenty20 Cricketer in the World

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Photo Credit: Cricket West Indies

Hayley Matthews has been named Wisden’s Leading Twenty20 Cricketer in 2023. Alan Gardner looks at the remarkable performances of this outstanding player – a T20 World Cup champion and the present West Indies Captain.

We’ve all heard the one about the globe-trotting, six-hitting West Indies all-rounder bestriding the T20 stage. But this tale comes with a twist: a first female winner in this award’s seven-year history. Hayley Matthews has long been a star of the game – aged 18, she inspired West Indies to victory in the 2016 World T20 final – but in 2023 she produced an unprecedented red-hot run of form. Between February and her final game of the year in October, on three different continents, she won eight consecutive T20I match awards. The previous best was four in a row. During that sequence, she averaged 88 with the bat, at a strike-rate of 144, and 12 with the ball.

The pièce de résistance came at North Sydney Oval, game seven in the Matthews Supremacy. Set 213, West Indies were powered to a record chase in women’s T20Is by her buccaneering 132 from 64 balls, including 110 in boundaries. Her score, a West Indies record, was the first century in the second innings of a women’s T20I; and it came after she had been the pick of the bowlers, with 3-36 for her off-breaks. That the side on the receiving end were the world champions, playing in their own backyard, added only lustre.

If 2023 was a banner year for the women’s game, with the inauguration of the Women’s Premier League in India, then Matthews rode the crest of the wave. She was a WPL title-winner with Mumbai Indians, the fifth-leading run-scorer in the competition, and captained Barbados Royals to victory in the Caribbean Premier League, scoring 82 from 59 and taking 2-38 in the final. She was also a high-profile pick in The Hundred and the Big Bash.

Her feats could only sporadically lift West Indies, whom she had captained for the first time in 2022, though she credited the job for helping her,

“take responsibility for my game”.

The first in her streak of match awards came against Ireland at Cape Town during the T20 World Cup, where West Indies ended a run of 15 defeats. She followed that with another all-round display, against Pakistan, though two group wins could not put her side in the semifinals. Ireland were again on the receiving end in July, as West Indies won 3–0 in St Lucia, before their tour of Australia confirmed her status as the ICC’s No. 1 all-rounder. In five days, she smashed 99 not out, 132 and 79 – a total of 310 off 178 balls, with 43 fours and 13 sixes – and took five wickets.

Her overall T20I record for the year read 700 runs from 14 matches at 63 (strike-rate 132) and 19 wickets at 16 (economy 6.84). Across men’s and women’s T20 – domestic and international – her tally of 1,551 runs was topped only by Jos Buttler. Unlike Matthews, though, he was not the leading wicket-taker in the format. The Caribbean had produced another game-changer.

Article provided by the Editor of Wisden

This article was first published in the Wisden Cricket Almanack and reproduced on www.wisden.com

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