Hayley Matthews believes having the captaincy has helped take her game to another level as she reflected on an extraordinary performance against Australia with her 132 off 64 balls steering West Indies to a record T20I chase.
It meant that in two days, she had made 231 off 138 balls having been unbeaten on 99 in the first game, while taking four wickets for good measure. On Monday, she added 174 in 14 overs with Stafanie Taylor, her predecessor as captain, to conjure a remarkable result.
Matthews, who starred in West Indies' T20 World Cup final win over Australia in 2016 as an 18-year-old, has now earned seven player-of-the-match awards in a row while also producing a match-winning performance in the WCPL final shortly before this tour.
"Today was quite incredible," she said. "I don't think any days of cricket have beaten that. The leadership of the team has definitely helped me to take responsibility of my game, that along with learning and understanding my game a lot more from playing franchise and T20 cricket on the road.
"Two of those put together over the last 12 months have really helped, not only with me scoring runs, but scoring them consistently as well."
"I speak about trying to lead by example, and I think it's something growing up I watched Stafanie do, while I was playing with her in my younger days. Since I've taken over the role, I've really tried to emulate that and take responsibility and set a really good example for the young girls."
It was shortly after the midway point of the chase that Matthews seriously started to consider the possibility of a win. She had flown past her half-century and Taylor was starting to overcome a sluggish start. A couple of overs later, Matthews sent Darcie Brown for two sixes before being dropped at cover on 87 by Phoebe Litchfield.
"Steph and I really started to have a look at chasing it when I think we needed 105 from 54 balls," she said. "At that moment, with the momentum we had, we really spoke about trying to go as hard as we could from both ends with the wickets he had in hand. Kudos to her as well, she had an amazing knock at the other end. It took so much pressure off me and kept the boundaries flowing."
Matthews' off-side strength was fed by a poor Australia display which allowed her to regularly play through and over cover. "I don't think they were trying to bowl outside off. I think they missed it a couple of times," she said. "That's always the stronger area for myself, where if I get the ball up there, I'm definitely going to go for it. Happy that I was able to get a few up there and put them away as well."
It looked like Matthews would take West Indies over the line after dispatching Joss Jonassen for four consecutive boundaries, having started the penultimate over needing 25. But she was then bowled round her legs. In the end, Shemaine Campbelle and Chinelle Henry held their nerve.
"It was a very long day," she said. "After getting so close to a score, chasing like 212 doesn't come every day, especially for our team, you really want to get over that line. I had all faith in Shemaine and Chin. They're experienced, they've been around the circuit for a long time and have been coming into their own of late, so I had no doubt."