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Deandra Dottin of the Windies during match 3, Windies Women v Bangladesh Women on November 9, 2018 in Providence, Guyana.
Womens World T20

Two more hundreds coming, Deandra Dottin declares

Windies Women, WT20, feature

The focus has all been on Deandra Dottin’s batting in the lead-up to this ICC Women’s World T20 2018. And then she goes and makes a statement with the ball on the opening day of the tournament, reminding everyone why she’s one of the most feared all-rounders of the game.

“Deandra, you have two T20I hundreds. Do you have a special goal for this tournament?”
“I do have a special goal. Scoring more centuries, as well. I have two more coming for sure.”

“Two more coming for this tournament?”
“Yes, please.”

It was the second time in a week that Deandra Dottin, the Windies Women all-rounder, was coolly stating her intention to bring up a couple of hundreds as if they were as easy as finding a party in the Caribbean.

Deandra Dottin was the first woman to score a T20I century, and the first woman to score two
Deandra Dottin was the first woman to score a T20I century, and the first woman to score two

But dismiss her ambition at your own peril. For, ever so often, the party tends to come to Dottin.

Back in 2010, in the second edition of the Women’s World T20 and the first held in the Caribbean, Dottin kicked off the tournament by becoming the first woman to score a T20I century when she smashed 112* off 45 balls. Her hundred, coming from just 38 deliveries, is still the quickest in the women’s game.

Then, last year, she became the first woman with two Twenty20 International hundreds against her name when she repeated the feat against the touring Sri Lankans.

With other batters from around the world quickly catching up in the power-hitting game, and the bar in women’s cricket being constantly raised, Dottin, who says she is driven by the competition, threw down another gauntlet at the Guyana National Stadium on Friday, 9 November. She became the first woman to have a T20I century and a five-wicket haul to her credit.

Video cwc19 10 Nov 18
WI v BAN: Deandra Dottin's brilliant five-wicket haul

Jersey No.5's 5-5 against Bangladesh – incidentally also on the opening day of the tournament like in 2010 – are the third-best figures in women’s T20Is.

“I’ve been working hard on my game, setting goals for myself,” she told the ICC in a chat. “For me, it’s to take the team as far as I can.”

At one point, Dottin used to call herself the female Chris Gayle – her words, not ours. The comparison fits for more than a shared ability to thwack the long ball. It’s also in that supreme self-assurance – “confident, but not over-confident”, as Dottin puts it – and a swagger.

“I do have a special goal. Scoring more centuries, as well. I have two more coming for sure.”

For Dottin, that serious swagger sometimes melts into fits of laughter and you see glimpses of the person behind the attitude before she collects herself into a poker face again. ‘Moving in faith’, which is something many in the team live by – “It means putting god first in everything you do” – is important to her. And the team is her family.

On Friday, she claimed there were absolutely no concerns about how the team were kept to 106/8, on a ground that had seen Harmanpreet Kaur make almost that much all by herself earlier in the day. But to see them come out pumped up and give the Georgetown crowd something to cheer about exposed the fallacy of that sentiment to some extent. It was a team with a point to prove, and Dottin helped them do it. You could see what it meant in the vigour with which she celebrated.

Video cwc19 09 Nov 18
WT20 lookahead – Windies feature

She beat the Bangladesh batters for pace, and got movement on a tiring pitch. Never one to shirk from sending down the short ones, she kept the batters on their toes. Her celebration dance was inspired by a song from Ciara called Level Up. It’s an apt metaphor for her World T20 ambition.

“That’s the good thing about being an all-rounder,” she told press-persons after her record. “When you don't pick up in one area, you can pick up in the next. I didn't pick up with the bat, so I knew that being one of the main bowlers, I have to come through with the ball.”

What’s helped Dottin 'level up' is an increased emphasis on fitness. “It’s not only about hitting all the boundaries and big sixes and stuff, running between the wickets is also crucial as well, so in that also [fitness] fills the basket,” she told ICC.

“We have been working the past couple of months on my fitness, doing sprints, intervals, a lot of speed work. I mostly used to do long distance and short sprints, I added some intervals,” she said. “It helps you concentrate a lot as well.”

Dottin is charged up and ready to go, and if she is to be believed, more records are on the way. This tournament has seen her go back to the top of the order in an attempt to give her team explosive starts, so the possibility is very real.

“It wasn’t any pressure before, I don’t think there’s any pressure now. It’s just a matter of me playing a little more freely,” she signs off.