National debut better late than never for Sarah Aley
SHE'S almost the classic women's cricket story. Playing against the boys until her teenage years, progressing to state level and carving out a career while also studying and working at the same time.
But there's one part of the elite level story that Sarah Aley had yet to complete: national debut.
At the age of 33, she did it and it was a performance that quickly joined the highlight reel.
"It would definitely be up there. It's the highest honour that you can get in women's cricket, or cricket in general, to play for your country. It's definitely up there as one of the highlights," Aley said.
"Being part of the streak of 10 national league titles for NSW is a pretty big highlight. Winning the Big Bash last year was pretty big."
Things couldn't have gone much better for Aley in her first match in the green and gold.
Aside from coming away with the win over Pakistan to remain undefeated in the World Cup, she spent some time at the crease alongside Alyssa Healy - making an impressive 15 off eight balls when she came in at 10 - then struck with her second ball of her first over.
Aley bowled at length to Ayesha Zafar who sent it out to mid-on where she was caught by Elyse Villani. Just a few overs later it was Aley's turn to take the catch, in perfect position at square leg to catch Marina Iqbal and have Pakistan 3-23 after 11 overs.
The veteran state player said there were no nerves heading out there, but her stint at the crease helped her settled in to the match.
"I was hoping I wouldn't have to [bat], that our batters would do the job, but it was good fun getting out there with Alyssa at the end and having a bit of a bash," she said.
"It kind of, not so much settled my nerves a bit, I wasn't really that nervous, it was just good to get out there and have a bit of fun with her.
"[The wicket] was just one of those moments where I wasn't really sure what was going on. I saw a little bit of a blur. I'm sure if I watch it again I'll probably have the same amount of excitement as I did for that second ball.
"It was pretty special and a lot of fun."
And now, a moment she thought may probably never come, has happened.
"[Playing for Australia] is definitely something I didn't think was going to happen, especially at the start of this season," Aley said.
"It's an opportunity I guess has thought had passed me by, but I guess given the opportunity now I'm going to take it and run with it."