Barbados skipper Mathews confident of upsetting heavyweights India

Birmingham, Jul 27 (Cricket News) Barbados skipper Hayley Matthews and her team are not overawed by the presence of title favourites Australia and a formidable India in its group with an aim of springing a few surprises in women's cricket competition at the Commonwealth Games.

Barbados are clubbed in group A with Pakistan, India, and Australia and to have any chance of progressing into the semi-finals, they will need to beat either tournament favourites Australia or India, the runners-up in the last T20 World Cup in 2020.

"It's going to be a challenging tournament for us, but we're welcoming it with open arms," the 24-year-old Matthews, a West Indies regular and also someone who plays in India's T20 Women's Challenge, said.

"Once we go out there and execute what we know we can do, we have a chance of beating the bigger sides." Matthews has been playing international cricket since she was 16, but representing Barbados on the global stage will be a new experience.

Usually a combined West Indies team compete in International cricket, but Caribbean islands are represented separately at the Games, so Barbados were chosen to compete after finishing as champions at the 2019 Caribbean domestic T20 tournament.

"It's definitely a bit different, but we're a tight-knit group… We've been playing together for a couple of years as a Barbados team regionally, and all the girls have gelled well." Hayley, who was recently elevated to the role of West Indies captain, will have the chance to lead for the first time in an official international match.

Asked about the key to success against the cricketing giants, she said: "Every time we step onto the field, I encourage as much enjoyment as possible." "That's when a lot of us play at our best — when everyone knows they have the freedom to go out and express themselves." The ICC has accorded international status to all matches, ensuring that at least four Barbados players will gain maiden caps in their opening game against Pakistan on Friday.

"A lot of them are going to be excited about facing players they have looked up to, players who are role models for them," she said.

Women's cricket has been included in the Games for the first time and will make its debut in T20I format after men's cricket appeared at Kuala Lumpur edition in 1998 in which the great Sachin Tendulkar and Steve Waugh had participated.

Matthews and her team-mates are benefiting from the expertise of assistant coach Ryan Hinds, who had made his Barbados debut as a 17-year-old in Kuala Lumpur.

"It's quite unique that he was able to be part of it in 1998 and to come back now as a coach," she said.

"We've chatted about what he went through when he was playing at the 1998 Games,' the skipper said. 

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News Source : PTI


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