It was the 62nd game in Women's T20I history. Six years had passed since the inception of the format in the women's game and not one T20I hundred had been made. The 2010 World T20 game at. St Kitts was set to make destiny as West Indies Women and South Africa Women locked horns in the opener.
At 56/4, West Indies seemed to be in dire straits when their no.6 batter Deandra Dottin, all of 18 years of age, walked in to bat. It was the 10th over of the innings already and the crowd had no clue about the hurricane that was about to hit them hard.
Dottin started with a single and then a four, but the first six came only off the 12th ball she faced. Her half-century came up in 24 balls but little did the Proteas women know what was about to be unleashed on them.
Van der Westhuizen was bludgeoned for four sixes in a single over and a couple more sixes and fours followed in the next over. By 38 balls, 14 balls after she reached her half-century, Dottin had a century to her name, the first-ever in the history of women's cricket.
At the time, the fastest T20I hundred in men's cricket was jointly held by Chris Gayle and Brendon McCullum and it took 50 balls. Dottin was ruthless as she blitzed the Proteas Women attack with some outrageous strokes. She smashed nine sixes and seven fours in her innings and turned the game on its head despite walking in to bat only in the 10th over.
"It feels really good to be the first woman to make a century in Twenty20 cricket and this record and win mean a lot," Dottin said of her achievement.
"After we lost two quick wickets, the plan was that Shanel (Daley) and I would pick up singles and hit every bad ball. However, when I saw that the overs were slipping away from us I decided to go after everything, it was either do or die. I knew that the team needed me and I just kept me eyes on the ball, played with some patience and played straight. I also knew that we could defend a high total".
West Indies went on to make the semi-finals but lost to New Zealand. Dottin became a superstar and is still one of the most compelling all-rounders in the women's game.
Her inspirational knock on the day paved way for more centuries in the women's game in the shortest format. In the year’s post Dottin's maiden century, 26 tons have been scored in the women's game. The influx of centuries have gone up by leaps and bounds in the last few years but it all started with one whirlwind knock in a World T20 opener by a West Indian against a South African side.
We have heard that one before, right?
In 2007, the first men's T20I hundred also came in a T20 World Cup opener. It was also scored by a West Indian (Chris Gayle) against a Proteas side.
Feature image courtesy: Twitter / @Dottin_5