SYDNEY, Australia – Stylish right-hander Stafanie Taylor narrowly missed out on her sixth One-Day International hundred when she carved out a brilliant 95, but West Indies Women could not capitalise and went down by three wickets to Australia Women in the opening game of the ICC Women’s Championship here yesterday.
Sent in at Hurstville Oval, West Indies rallied to 240 for eight off their 50 overs, with Player-of-the-Match Taylor leading the way in an innings that required 102 balls and included 12 boundaries.
Sixteen-year-old Barbadian Hayley Matthews chipped in with 55 on debut while free-scoring Deandra Dottin scored 24.
West Indies looked good bets to get well beyond their eventual score when they cruised at 201 for two in the 40th over. However, once Taylor perished in the 40th over, the West Indies innings fell away badly as the Caribbean side lost six wickets for 27 runs off just 55 balls.
Off-spinner Erin Osborne was the best bowler with three for 43 while leg-spinner Kristen Beams supported with two for 32.
In reply, the hosts coasted to their target with three balls left, with captain Meg Lanning missing out on a century with 95 while Nicole Bolton (59) and Ellyse Perry (53) supported with half-centuries.
Left-armer Shanel Daley picked up two for 38, off-spinner Anisa Mohammed took two for 39 while Taylor chimed in with two for 45 with her off-spin.
Australia were cantering at 217 for two in the 44th over and seemingly en route to an easy win before five wickets tumbled in the space of 32 deliveries, to set up a tense finish.
Earlier, West Indies were lifted by the superb Taylor who extended her wonderful form from the preceding Twenty20 series which the Caribbean side lost 4-0.
She came to the crease after West Indies lost opener Kycia Knight for 14 with the score on 18 at the end of the third over, and proceeded to repair the innings with two key partnerships.
Firstly, she added 109 for the second wicket with the right-handed Matthews whose half-century knock came from 86 balls and included six fours.
When Matthews fell to Beams in the 27th over, Taylor anchored a third-wicket stand of 74 with Dottin who was unusually sedate in her 40-ball knock with three boundaries.
West Indies then struck early, seamer Tremayne Smartt claiming Elyse Villani for four with the Aussies having reached 12 for one in the third over.
However, Lanning underpinned two successive partnerships, to wrench the game away from West Indies. The right-hander punched nine fours off 107 balls, putting on exactly 100 for the second wicket with opener Bolton who was steady in a 78-ball innings with six fours.
When Bolton fell in the 23rd over, Lanning and Perry posted another 105 for the third wicket, with Perry getting four fours in his 73-ball knock.
Taylor then intervened, prising out Lanning and Perry in successive overs to leave the Aussies on 220 for four in the 46th over and when Mohammed accounted for Alex Blackwell for two in the next over, the hosts were wobbling.
Daley knocked over Alyssa Healy (14) and Jess Jonassen (3) in the penultimate over, as West Indies scented a sensational come-from-behind win.
Requiring just two runs from the final over, the hosts easily got the runs needed, with Taylor sending down a wide to hand the Aussies victory and a 1-0 lead in the series.