Most players don’t like to reveal individual goals. It puts too much on the line, raises expectations and lays a marker; anything short of reaching it can too conveniently be deemed as ‘failure’.
But Deandra Dottin is refreshingly upfront, if economical with words. So, still sporting the sweat that bore witness to her career- and tournament-best figures of 5 for 5 against Bangladesh, she chuckled and calmly revealed she plans to score two centuries during this tournament, to add to the brace already in her locker. Not one, but two.
“I have two more coming for sure.,” she told reporters. Two more coming for this tournament? “Yes, please.”
Dottin was the first woman to score a T20 international century, against South Africa during the 2010 edition of the World T20. She did it in just 38 balls. It wasn’t just a lightbulb moment for the women’s game, it was a supernova: Oh guess what? Women can play a power game.
And while many were – rightly – in raptures over Harmanpreet Kaur’s brilliant century in India’s opening match against New Zealand, it’s worth remembering that Dottin reached that milestone in 11 fewer balls.
On a marathon first day of the WT20 that started with the blinding batting of Kaur, it was Dottin’s bowling that provided the fireworks at night to go with the drum beats that rumbled around Providence. In a way that reflected the conditions and the reality of playing three international T20s on one pitch, batting became progressively difficult during the day as the pitch wore and the humidity and lights became factors.
But Dottin’s performance was as much about using her natural abilities as it was about exploiting the conditions. After Bangladesh’s bowlers had restricted the defending champions to 106, there was little room for error in the West Indies bowling attack.
Dottin had been promoted to open the batting – reflecting West Indies recent sluggishness in the power play – but she became Jahanara Alam’s second victim when she misjudged a cut shot and was well caught by a diving Fahima Khatun. She decided to use that as motivation; if she could no longer win the match with the bat then she could still do it with the ball.
The all-rounder has a relatively short run up that belies the power she generates; she was regularly touching 75 miles-per-hour on a pitch that was at its most sluggish.
“We’ve been working a lot on sprinting and moving fast, running between the wickets and stuff, our turns and those quick steps,” Dottin said. “But for me, I’ve been putting in a lot of extra work, doing a lot of running and a lot more sprints.
“I think it’s having a big input on my bowling, as well.”
Dottin beat the Bangladesh batters for pace and fooled them with subtle movement; four of her five wickets came from the ball clattering into the stumps. The Bangladesh batsmen, sometimes lacking in foot movement and defensive technique, had no answers.
She has two main expressions: one, a glowering frown of a glare, was evident when she was out for just eight runs. The other, a joyful and gleaming metallic grin burst through a little brighter with each of her wickets. When she took her fifth, she broke out into a dance with her teammates, “Just a crazy dance that we all made up off of a song called ‘Level Up,’ she explained after the match.
To what extent Dottin will continue to level up in this tournament remains to be seen. She has already bowled what she regards the best T20I spell of her extensive career (only two players in this competition – Jennie Gunn and Suzie Bates – have played more matches).
“Well, I rate this one as one of the top performances I’ve had,” said Dottin. “Most of the performances I’ve had in the past were with the bat, but coming through with the ball is very tremendous.”
And, if Dottin ticks off her goal of notching two centuries in the next couple of weeks, it won’t be just a level up but an unprecedented level unlocked.