Australian cricketer Maitlan Brown has put a week of off-field drama behind her to help the Southern Brave to the top of the table in The Hundred.
The 26-year-old was unfairly thrust into the spotlight when she was referred to as ‘a little Barbie’ by a former reality TV contestant in his role on the BBC’s coverage of the first day of the competition.
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The comment by Chris Hughes, and his next remark that Brown was ‘blushing’, was branded sexist by fans and deemed inappropriate by his employers.
But as the storm raged around the remarks Brown maintained her silence and went to work.
And on Tuesday, in her most meaningful innings with the bat since the interview, Brown turned things around for the Brave just when it looked like the London Spirit had done enough.
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Brown sent down five balls before her match-turning cameo with the bat. Credit: Philip Brown/Getty Images
The Aussie was called into action with 27 runs required from 21 balls and teammate Maia Boucher ticking towards a half-century but quickly running out of partners.
The pair combined to cut eight off the target in the next six balls but the scoring rate slowed again when the Spirit’s New Zealand star Amelia Kerr bowled two dots from four after a change of ends.
Then Brown put the foot down.
An attempted slog found a lucky bottom edge that went through the wicketkeeper’s legs and away for the Australian’s first boundary.
On the very next ball Brown sensed an opportunity and ramped the ball over the keeper for her second four.
That brought the target down to just seven required off nine balls, and the confidence flowed.
Brown was ready to ramp the next delivery but as Kerr floated the ball wide, the batter took an extra shuffle across her stumps and lofted it behind square for her third straight boundary.
Maitlan Brown’s final boundary drew a laugh towards her teammate. Credit: Alex Davidson /ECB via Getty Images
The unlikely shot drew a laugh from Brown towards Bouchier after the English batter gave her Australian teammate very different advice when Brown first arrived at the crease.
“It was great to have Maitlan there at the end so she could just play to her strengths,” Bouchier said.
“I’d say (do) one thing and she’ll do the other thing. It was quite funny to be batting with her but we got the win, that was the most important thing.
Asked to explain what she told Brown, Bouchier said: “I told her to go for a one (to rotate the strike) and she just ramps it for four! Credit to Maitlan just to go to her strengths.”
The pressure clearly off after Brown’s cameo, Bouchier would go on to hit the winning runs – and seal player-of-the-match honours – with her 10th boundary of the night.
The Brave’s third win from four matches sent the Southampton-based side to the top of the Hundred table ahead of the Welsh Fire.
The two teams will face off on Saturday.
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