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Taylor plays a knock beyond her wildest dreams

Mihir Vasavda

Posted: Feb 04, 2013 at 0121 hrs IST
      

Mumbai: A night before their must-win tie against Sri Lanka, the big-hitting West Indian opener Stephanie Taylor dreamt that she scored 94 runs. The 21-year-old woke up confident about scoring big in Sunday's match at the MIG Club in Bandra, but something bothered her: those remaining six runs.

Her roommate and West Indies's No.3 bat Shemaine Campbelle, with whom she has shared the dream in the morning, joined Taylor on the crease in the 10th over with the score at 62/1. And the first thing she did was to remind Stephanie about it.

"I told her I will definitely get those six runs," she later said. As it turned out, Taylor got much more -- in fact, 77 to be exact. Her 171 guided the team to a massive 209-run win over Sri Lanka.

After flopping against hosts India in the opening match of Group A on Thursday, Taylor hit a purple patch as she struck 18 fours and six sixes in her 137-ball knock. Her innings propelled the West Indies to a total of 368/8, the fourth-highest total in women's World Cup. In reply, Sri Lanka were all out for 159 in 40 overs.

It was the first time that the women from the Caribbean had crossed the 300-run mark in ODIs. Besides Taylor's knock, it also needed a special effort from Deandra Dottin. Dottin, who holds the record for the fastest century in women's T20, smashed the fastest fifty in women's cricket. She required only 20 balls to reach the landmark, getting there with four fours and five sixes.

Gayle fan

The right-handed Taylor, a big fan of Chris Gayle, was as dominant during the course of this innings as her idol. Her innings was a nice blend of power and panache. Taylor was especially strong in front of the wicket, making the most of the small ground. Such was her stroke-play and aggression that she later admitted that the West Indies coach Sherwin Campbell was disappointed she didn't go on to make a double century. Incidentally, the first-ever ODI double ton, by Australia's Belinda Clarke, was scored at this very ground.

Taylor was well-supported by Dottin and skipper Merissa Aguillera, who scored 47 runs in 24 balls towards the end of the innings. Sri Lanka, who upset defending champions England in their opening game on Friday, never really managed to look like getting close to West Indies's total.

Brief scores: West Indies 368/8 in 50 overs (S Taylor 171, D Dottin 50; S Siriwardene 2/58, S Ravikumar 2/69) bt Sri Lanka 159 all out in 40 overs (D Rasangika 28; S Quintyne 3/32, S Daley 2/35)

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