Deandra Dottin placed her WBBL final half-century in the top five innings she has played over the years after being named Player of the Match in Adelaide Strikers’ first title, but admitted she had been nervous early in the contest.
It was the latest in a line of performances that have showcased Dottin’s T20 credentials either side of her retiring from West Indies after the Commonwealth Games to become a freelance cricketer.
In September, she was Player of the Match as Trinbago Knight Riders won the inaugural Women’s CPL, and was also Player of the Tournament, and prior to the end of her international career, she was Player of the Match in the final as well as Player of the Tournament for Supernovas in the Women’s T20 Challenge in India.
However, despite her achievements for clubs and country, she had been uncertain in the middle of North Sydney Oval as Strikers’ innings lost momentum after a promising start and shared her feelings with captain Tahlia McGrath. Dottin had received two lives from no-balls, the most telling when Ellyse Perry overstepped with Dottin on 8.
“I was just a bit nervous. After wickets started to fall, I was like, I’m the one that is actually there to hit the big ones, so say to myself, I have to stay to the end no matter what in order for us to get a competitive total on the board,” she said. “I got those two no-balls, finally I got some luck. So it was good for me to finally capitalise on it.
“I’ll rate [the innings] very high, probably in the top five. For me to stay to the end and get that 140-something on the board to defend, I rate it very high.”
Dottin, who had previously played for Perth Scorchers and Brisbane Heat, finished this WBBL campaign with 362 runs at 27.84 and a strike rate of 114.19. She made two half-centuries earlier in the tournament when opening the batting, but was then moved to No. 4 as part of a team restructuring heading towards the latter stages of the regular season.
She produced two of her most telling performances in the finals: 39 off 21 balls against Brisbane Heat to provide crucial impetus to the chase, and then this innings against Sydney Sixers that transformed from 26 off 25 balls to 52 off 37. Her bowling has also been an increasingly key element of Strikers’ plans, with nine of her 14 wickets coming in the last five matches including a double-wicket maiden in the final.
“It’s never easy joining a new team and she was certainly pretty quiet at the start – I’d be the exact same – but she’s certainly come out of her shell,” McGrath said. “She’s been a massive part of our team. She said to me today at the ten-over mark how nervous she was – the cool, calm, collected World Boss was nervous! – so she stepped up today and was amazing for us.
“When the pressure is on, you want your big players to stand up and that’s what she did today. You can’t ask for any more than that. She’s chipped away all season for us. It was hard when we asked her to go from opening to four for the team but, wow, she’s turned it around.”