Magnificent Taylor fires Windies to crucial victory

MUMBAI, India, CMC – Prolific opener Stafanie Taylor hammered a career-best century as West Indies Women rebounded from an opening game defeat to crush Sri Lanka Women by 209 runs in their second match of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Women’s World Cup tournament here yesterday.

The elegant right-hander unveiled a magnificent 171 to propel West Indies to 368 for eight off their 50 overs, the side’s highest ever total in a One-Day International.

Big-hitter Deandra Dottin chipped in with a typically aggressive even 50, captain Merissa Aguilleira gathered a brisk, unbeaten 47 while Kyshona Knight scored a patient 44.

In reply, Sri Lanka lost early wickets to plummet to 159 all out off 40 overs, with Deepika Rasangika top scoring with 28.

Teenaged leg-spinner Shaquana Quintyne was the Windies’ best bowler with three for 32 while left-arm spinner Shanel Daley struck two key blows early in the innings to finish with two for 35.

The victory was a crucial one for West Indies especially after they lost their opening contest to hosts India last Thursday, and it catapulted them to the top of Group A courtesy of their net run rate.

All four teams have two points after two matches.

Sent in at the Middle Income Group Ground, the Windies lasses benefitted from several superb partnerships, all expertly anchored by the brilliant Taylor.

She put on 62 off 58 balls for the first wicket with Kycia Knight (30) before adding a further 110 for the third wicket with Kyshona Knight.

The innings was then carried into overdrive thanks to a rollicking 90-run fourth wicket stand off 39 balls with Dottin, and this was sustained when Taylor combined with Aguilleira in a 34-ball, seventh wicket partnership of 55.

Overall, Taylor faced 137 balls and counted 18 fours and two sixes, surpassing her previous best of 147 against the Netherlands at Potchefstroom in South Africa three years ago.

The knock is the highest score by a West Indies batsman in women’s cricket.

She made a slow start to her innings as Kycia Knight took the early initiative, stroking four boundaries in her 29-ball knock as West Indies raced to 40 off the first six overs.

Kycia was dominating when she was stumped in the 10th over off captain and leg-spinner Shashikala Siriwardene and when Shemaine Campbelle (6) perished cheaply 17 balls later via the run out route, Sri Lanka were back in the game.

However, Kyshona Knight arrived to help consolidate the innings, spending 67 balls at the crease and counting just two fours in a partnership that snatched the advantage away from the Sri Lankans and laid the foundation for the domination that was to come.

The stand was ended when Kyshona was run out by Deepika Ranasangika’s direct hit in the 34th over but Dottin joined Taylor to destroy Sri Lanka’s bowling.

Dottin cleared the ropes at long on with seamer Eshani Kaushalya off the first ball she faced in an over that cost 16 runs and overall, clobbered five fours and four sixes off a mere 22 balls.

Taylor, meanwhile, raised her 50 with a lofted boundary over long-off off leg-spinner Sandamali Dolawatte in the 18th over and marched on effortlessly to raise her fourth ODI century off 97 balls early in the 33rd over.

Dottin unleashed a flurry of strokes in the 37th over from seamer Chamani Seneviratna that cost 17 runs, slamming two fours and a six before going after Siriwardene in the next over which bled 15 runs.

When she departed in the 40th over, West Indies lost three wickets for 12 runs off 11 deliveries but Aguilleira kept things busy late on, before Taylor eventually fell in the 48th over.

In reply, Sri Lanka slumped to 51 for three in the 12th over thanks to Daley’s double strike. When they seemed to be recovering through a 24-run stand between Prasadani Weerakkody (22) and Dolawatte (10), Quintyne grabbed two wickets in successive overs to send Sri Lanka limping to 89 for six.

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