It was truly a super Sunday as three hundreds were struck and two new batting records were set in women’s cricket during the matches in the ICC Women’s World Cup 2013.
West Indies’ Stafanie Taylor struck a sublime 171 even as her teammate Deandra Dottin hit the fastest half-century in women’s ODI cricket off just 20 balls, bettering Australia’s Meg Lanning by just three balls.
Also during the day, England captain Charlotte Edwards and India’s Harmanpreet Kaur struck hundreds during their game at Cricket Club of India in a high-scoring contest.
In fact, Edwards also became the highest run-getter in women’s ODI cricket as she went past ICC Hall of Fame inductee Australia’s Belinda Clark.
In all thus far five centuries have been struck in the tournament making it an exciting spectacle for the viewers and the crowds at the four venues.
In terms of team result, Taylor and Dottin’s efforts helped West Indies beat Sri Lanka by a massive 209 runs. Edwards’ hundred ensured that England made a strong come back with a win over India by 32 runs, while in Cuttack Australia beat South Africa by three wickets and New Zealand got the better of Pakistan by seven wickets.
The star of the day was 21-year-old Taylor, ICC Women’s ODI Player of the Year for 2012, who was at her best stroking the ball all over the ground. After adding 110 for the third wicket with Kyoshana Knight (44), Taylor was joined by Dottin.
Aided by some sloppy fielding and lacklustre bowling from Sri Lanka, Taylor struck boundaries to every part of the ground much to the excitement of the small but excitable MIG crowd. Taylor hit 18 boundaries and two sixes in her 137 ball knock.
Dottin crushed any hopes that Sri Lanka women might have had to restrict West Indies as she took a toll hitting four sixes and five boundaries in a 22-ball knock. Taylor and Dottin added 90 runs off just 39 balls with 71 of those coming in the batting powerplay.
West Indies captain Merissa Aguillera was elated after the win. “Today’s match was a great example of team effort. The batting worked very well. Taylor led from the front. We had a lot of people getting into the act. After that we followed up with the ball also. I think it was an all-round performance.”
Aguillera also praised Taylor for her phenomenal effort. “We cherish Taylor. She is such a phenomenal player. She is dedicated in what she does. The whole team looks forward to be there for her, motivate her and wish her all the best.”
Taylor, who’s a fan of Chris Gayle, said she dreamt of her batting last night. “I dreamt about my innings last night. I dreamt last night that I made 94. I woke up in the morning and told my roommate (Shermaine Campbell) about it. And she was like, where is the six! When I was batting in the middle, she reminded me about the dream. And I said yes, I would definitely get the six. That was my aim – to go out there and do my best. Hopefully, for the next game I will dream about getting 194.”
Belinda Clark’s record-breaking 229 in the ICC Women’s World Cup 1997 against Denmark was also scored at the MIG.
Taylor said the thought of stroking a double hundred was at the back of her mind. “The coach wanted me to score 200 today. But unfortunately I was tired. I had in the back of my head that I could get 200 today. I was trying, but fatigue got the better of me. In the end, I just decided that I would try to hit out and see how far I can get.”
Sri Lanka captain Shashikala Siriwardena was disappointed with the huge loss. “Our fielding let us down very badly. Around 80 percent of the singles that they took shouldn’t have been conceded by us.”
With all four teams in Group A having one win each, it could come down to run-rate to decide which teams go through to the Super Sixes. Siriwardena said that the huge loss would affect their run rate adversely before the side takes on India in a day-night match on 5 February at the Cricket Club of India. “Our run rate will be a concern. That is why we have no option but to win our last game against India. I will tell the girls to look at positives from our match against England and implement those against India. At the same time, we will try and learn from the mistakes we made against West Indies.”
At the Cricket Club of India, England captain Charlotte Edwards struck a splendid hundred (109 off 123 balls) as she led her side to an impressive 272 for eight in its 50 overs after being asked to bat.
England’s total was built around the second-wicket partnership of 100 between Edwards and Sarah Taylor (35) in 22.5 overs. The England batters were kept in check by a flurry of run outs and a late burst by Niranjana Nagarajan.
India lost its top order quite cheaply as the responsibility of the chase fell on Kaur and Karuna Jain.
The 106-run stand for the fourth wicket between Kaur and Jain appeared to put India on course till the 46th over. Kaur's maiden ODI hundred gave a lot of hope. But three wickets in three deliveries over two overs undid all the hardwork. England's Katherine Brunt did all the damage in the chase.
England captain Charlotte Edwards was relieved with the win: “It feels a lot better sitting here having won. Today was about character for our team, to play India in India, which is always going to be tough for us. I am very proud of the team today, it is very important that we continue the standards we have set today.
“We asked (our team) for a big performance today. That day (against SL) we dropped a few catches which really cost us. We didn’t get off to a great start. This is the England team I know and love and that is the standard we have got to set for ourselves for the rest of the tournament. The loss hurt the team and to come back like that, I am really proud of the team.”
Edwards also downplayed the fact that she has taken over as the leading run-getter in women’s ODIs. “I came into this game not in particularly great form, especially in one-day cricket, so for me to perform when the team needs me, it is probably up there with some of my best hundreds, in terms of the circumstances. As for the record it is about the team, it is not about me. That is something for me to look at, at the end of my career. Don’t get me wrong I am very proud of that, but Belinda Clark is a much better player than me.”
England's lead bowler Katherine Brunt said that her side was fired up by India captain Mithali Raj's comments that they did not have a strong bowling attack.
“Mithali’s comments fired us up, to be honest. We were already up for this game but once those comments were made, we worked even more (hard). I think that fuelled the fire. Anya and I did a decent job in the start and Holly showed us what a spinner can really do if we work hard and tight. Everybody made a contribution and if Mithali was wondering if only I was going to be bowling, there were three, four or five good bowlers out there.”
India’s Harmanpreet Kaur felt the loss of three wickets in three balls changed the course of the match.
“Yes at that time I felt that the match is turning completely because before that I knew that Amita Sharma and Niranjana were to bat and they are (the kind of players who would be) able to maintain the run rate that was going down. But they got out early and after that (it went downhill)."
New Zealand’s women continued its winning ways in Cuttack securing an easy victory over a disappointing Pakistan. Resting Sophie Devine, Morna Nielsen and Sian Ruck, who had all been key performers in the side’s win over South Africa two days ago, the team dismissed Pakistan for 104 in 41.2 overs.
Having won the toss and electing to bat, Pakistan’s Sana Mir would have considered her side lucky to have made 104, after New Zealand missed a number of easy catches in the field. But the day belonged to Rachel Candy who snaffled five wickets for 19 runs thereby earning herself the Player of the Match award.
New Zealand’s run chase proved easy as it lost just Lucy Doolan, Amy Satterthwaite and Sara McGlashan in a seven-wicket victory for the team. The run-scoring was led by captain Suzie Bates (65 not out).
A delighted Candy said post-match: “I think the conditions picked up a bit when I was out there, I got some good air and it pitched well and the humidity helped. We won and that’s the most important thing and I definitely think bowling first for me was a good option.”
There was obvious disappointment for the Pakistan captain Sana Mir as she reflected on the side’s batting form during the game: “There are no excuses, our batters aren’t doing their job and are playing bad shots and we need to cut that down for the next match. The plan is simple, we have to stay there and bat the 50 overs.”
Admitting that the game against South Africa on 5 February would be a case of do or die, Sana said: “We’re professional cricketers and we need to stay on the wicket and fight it out and I believe we have a winning team and the day our batters play out the 50 overs we can beat any side.”
Meanwhile, at DRIEMS Cricket Ground in front of a crowd of some 3,000 locals and students, South Africa got off to a poor start losing opener Yolandi Potgieter and key batter Mignon du Preez both for ducks, but vice-captain Tricia Chetty and all-rounder Marizanne Kapp stepped up the mark for the Proteas.
Ellyse Perry proved the pick of the Australia bowling attack, as she claimed 3-35, including the key wickets of Potgieter and du Preez.
In reply, the Australia innings was well served by Rachael Haynes as the 26-year-old from Melbourne top-scored with 83 to help secure a three-wicket victory. The only positive for South Africa was medium-pacer Shabnim Ismail’s spell of four for 41.
South Africa captain Mignon du Preez was disappointed with the loss and admitted that the match against Pakistan on 5 February was crucial to keep the Super Six hopes alive.
“We always knew it was going to be a difficult game but I always believed we could make it because we have a very strong bowling attack. We missed a catch early on in the match and we just couldn’t catch up. Shabnim Ismail did a brilliant job to take her four wickets and I’m extremely proud of the aggression that she showed.
“From a batting point of view I feel we were perhaps 20 to 40 runs short. In any match you need your opening batters to do the business and myself and Yolandi Potgieter didn't do that and we missed a golden opportunity to claim a huge victory.
“Going into the Pakistan game we are going to come out all guns blazing. A place in the Super Sixes is at stake and there's no room for error. The team and I will go back to the drawing board tomorrow and assess where we could have done better and we'll take it from there.”
Player of the Match Haynes was pleased to have put in such a strong performance with the bat to help guide Australia to victory and to the next stage of the competition: “As the wickets fell throughout the innings, I knew that my innings became more important and I wanted to make sure I batted as long as I could. I’m a little disappointed I could see the innings out.”
Australia captain Jodie Fields talked about the upcoming fixture against New Zealand on 5 February: “We had a good series against New Zealand in both the Rose Bowl (ODI Series) and the T20I series before we came here and it was a good prep. We need to step it up a level.
“As I’ve said before, we have a side that bats, bowls and fields extremely well and we’ll need to step it up a notch the day after tomorrow when we play the New Zealand side.”