THE LATE Trinidadian calypsonian Penguin’s 1982 Road March-winning song, A Deputy Is Essential, wasn’t among the many played at Kensington Oval on Saturday night.
But the vital role vice-captain Stafanie Taylor played in the West Indies’ resounding eight-wicket triumph over traditionally strong England in the final of the Women’s Tri-Nation Twenty20 Series was unquestionable.
The 22-year-old Jamaican showed all and sundry why she is the best all-round women’s cricketer in the world, starring with bat and ball.
Coming on to bowl first change, Taylor delivered an immaculate spell (4-1-8-1)of off-spin bowling as England, who won the toss and batted, were restricted to 115 for five off 20 overs.
The right-handed opener returned to anchor the West Indies’ successful run-chase with a solid unbeaten knock of 51 as the regional girls romped to 119 for two in 16.5 overs, winning with 19 balls to spare.
Player Of The Match Taylor stroked five fours in her 47-ball knock and featured in a match-winning unbroken third-wicket partnership of 78 in 10.2 overs with Player Of The Series Deandra Dottin, who hit an eye-catching 46 not out in a controlled display of attacking stroke-play.
Dottin’s innings contained four fours and a six off 35 balls and she finished the game in grand style with a straight boundary, much to the delight of the supportive 3 000-plus spectators in the packed 3Ws Stand.
Left-arm spinner Shanel Daley started England’s woes, inducing opener Danielle Wyatt to sky a catch to wicketkeeper Merissa Aguilleira.
Taylor’s first ball resulted in the run-out of England’s captain and leading T20 run-scorer Charlotte Edwards for 10, beaten by Shemaine Campbelle’s quick throw from short mid-wicket to Aguilleira.
Two balls later, Taylor struck when Lydia Greenway was caught by Dottin at backward square leg for a “duck”, leaving England on 22 for three as three wickets fell on the same score in the space of four deliveries.
It became 39 for four in the 10th over when Tammy Beaumont lifted leg-spinner Shaquana Quintyne into the safe hands of Stacy-Ann King.
Amid generally tight bowling and fantastic fielding from the Windies, Sarah Taylor (28 off 32 balls) and all-rounder Natalie Sciver, who top-scored with 36 not out off 33 balls, revived the innings with a 50-run fifth-wicket stand.
With Aguilleira opting not to bowl seamer Shakera Selman, England rallied from 68 for five, scoring 47 runs in the last five overs.
That total proved inadequate once Taylor and Dottin linked up after Kyshona Knight gifted her hand and Aguilleira was caught at mid-on.
Taylor and Dottin delighted the spectators with a series of drives and cover drives. Dottin’s lone six – a trademark clout over long-on – was her 52nd in T20 cricket: a record.
After Taylor reached
a world record 11th T20 half-century, she gave the strike back to Dottin, who hammered left-arm seamer Natasha Farrant down the ground to trigger celebrations among the spectators and in the Windies’ camp.
“We are overwhelmed at this moment. It was a really good performance by the team,” Aguilleira said after the match.