Daddy Dwayne does it for Niyesha
Bridgetown, Barbados — Dwayne Smith hit a superb match-winning half century as West Indies beat Australia by 14 runs to win the second Digicel T20 International and share the two-match Digicel T20 Series 1-1.
The 28-year-old said he enjoyed playing in front of his home fans on a good pitch at the Kensington Oval, but said it was extra special to have his six-year-old daughter Niyesha in the crowd to cheer him on.
Smith smashed a career-best 63 off 34 balls with four massive sixes - including three in one over off pacer James Pattinson. He gave the innings a terrific start, with a 72-run stand for the first wicket with Johnson Charles. The Windies were all out for 160 off 19.4 overs and then the bowlers limited Australia to 146-9 off their 20 overs.
Fast bowler Fidel Edwards and spinner Marlon Samuels both took 3-23 on their return to the team, while Dwayne Bravo bowled a great last over and also had an amazing run out with a direct throw from the deep.
“Before I came to the ground I called my daughter and she said, ‘Daddy if you don’t make runs don’t come home’. When I was batting I was thinking about her and that conversation. She inspires me ... guess I can go home now,” Smith said with a laugh.
“It felt really good to go out there and play so well for the team. The winning feeling is great! It was good to do so well in front of my home fans here in Barbados. They have always supported me and I wanted to repay that faith and that support.
“As a team we said we would play fearless cricket and look to take on any opponent. I’m a fearless cricketer and no one bothers me when I’m out on the field. My approach is ‘I’m here and I have a job to do’”.
The strongly-built Smith started his career as a middle-order batsman and medium-pace bowler, but made the decision to move up the order and it has paid off. He did well for Barbados in the WICB’s Caribbean T20 with a number of breathtaking knocks and forced his way back into the West Indies set-up.
“I love opening the batting. I made the decision to move up the order and I know I had to make it happen. As I said earlier, it is great to bat at the top in T20 so you get use of 120 balls and you also face the ball when it is harder. I am focussing on T20 at the moment and also trying to get back into the 50-over team. From there I would target a return to the longer version of the game,” he added.
Digicel T20 Series Results
Tuesday, March 27: 1st Digicel T20 - Australia won by 8 wickets at Beausejour
Friday, March 30: 2nd Digicel T20 - West Indies won by 14 runs at Kensington Oval