Stafanie Taylor said her team winning the women’s World T20 title in its maiden entry to the final is the reflection of the true Calypso spirit. The captain of the West Indies team that beat the top team in women’s T20 format, Australia, said women’s cricket in the Caribbean just got the impetus it was looking for with this triumph.
Taylor’s belief was reflected in the spontaneous celebrations that started with the stars of the men’s team such as Darren Sammy, Andre Russell and former stalwarts like Curtly Ambrose rushing on to congratulate them after the momentous happening.
Pointing out that the win was not a fluke, Taylor said her team prepared well for the tournament and that the side was, “really focused and had the belief to do well.” The West Indian all-rounder, who took the fight out of the Australian grip with a record opening stand of 120 runs with Hayley Matthews, said cricket is very much alive in the region and the recurrent controversies did not really affect them.
“We don’t really get caught up in what is happening. We are focused on cricket and we just believed in concentrating on playing the game in the right spirit,” she said. “I can just hope that women’s cricket grows from here on,” said added. “We need to build on the success and back it up with some good infrastructure. We need to encourage young players and create a pool of talent so that the next set of players is ready by the time present core of players go out,” was how the Taylor sought to hint at the rebuilding process.
Taylor said the T20 format has really caught the imagination of the Caribbean players and the decision to play in leagues like the Women’s Big Bash League in Australia has helped a lot. Citing the example of 19-year-old Matthews, whose brilliant batting helped her team end the hegemony of the teams like Australia and England in women’s cricket, Taylor said WBBL experience became quite valuable. “Playing in the WBBL has actually helped us. The exposure was good for her (Matthews) as it helped in building her game. She showed lot of maturity in the way she played. We take this as a stepping stone as we move on from here,” Taylor said while stating her wish to venture in other formats and play Test cricket.
Australian captain Meg Lanning said her team slowed down in the end and a total of around 160 would have been more challenging. The Australian captain, who had helped the team to the title in the last edition, said the batting of Matthews created the difference. “She (Matthews) is very talented and we were not surprised the way she batted as she has exceptional abilities,” Lanning said. “We needed 160-plus to set us up. It was disappointing not to finish after getting such a good start,” the Australian captain added.
Lanning said her team needs to work harder to stay on top. “They (West Indies) have caught up and have gone past. We need have to keep improving to stay on top. There are no easy games in cricket anymore,” the Australian captain said about significance the West Indian triumph.