Terrific Taylor sinks Australia
Sarah Taylor underlined her status as the leading batter in women’s Twenty20 cricket by steering England to an impressive seven-wicket victory over Australia at Galle.
England had already qualified for the semi-finals of the World T20 - New Zealand will now represent their opposition - but will be delighted to have landed a psychological blow over the defending champions, who they may yet meet again on October 7.
Taylor was instrumental in England’s success, striking 65 not out from 53 balls and receiving excellent late support from Danni Wyatt, who bashed 33 from 17 deliveries to complete a successful pursuit of 145 with almost two overs to spare.
Australia’s innings had featured respective knocks of 39 and 38 from Meg Lanning and Lisa Sthalekar, while Anya Shrubsole picked up two wickets.
A total of 144 for five appeared imposing, particularly when England were limited to 55 for two after 10 overs of their reply.
Taylor, however, paced her innings to perfection and Australia were ultimately beaten in convincing fashion as Wyatt, playing as a specialist batter due to a foot injury, cracked six fours in a decisive cameo. The unbroken fourth-wicket stand brought 63 runs from just 33 balls.
A delighted Taylor said: “We knew it would be a tough game against Australia, we always take any game against them seriously.
“Katherine Brunt bowled well up front but it's fair to say we didn't have our best performance with the ball today.
“I was a little slow getting going but was really pleased to contribute and stay out there to see us over the line. Danni Wyatt was phenomenal from ball one and we just wanted to get the job done.
“We're really happy to be heading up to Colombo for a semi-final against New Zealand on Thursday and will be taking the momentum with us from our recent performances.”
Prior to Wyatt’s arrival, England had largely been kept in check as the opposing attack chipped away.
Laura Marsh was caught behind for eight in the second over, skipper Charlotte Edwards fell to Jess Jonassen for 16 and Arran Brindle made one fewer before edging behind off Ellyse Perry.
Yet the key wicket of Taylor eluded Australia, who had no answer when England upped the ante in the closing stages and will now take on West Indies in the other semi-final.
Jodie Fields’ side had won the toss earlier in the day and raced to 35 before Alyssa Healy fell victim to a fine return catch by Katherine Brunt at the end of the fifth over.
Lanning and Sthalekar each departed to Shrubsole, who returned 2-32, either side of Marsh bowling Jess Cameron for 17.
Marsh and Taylor also combined to run out Alex Blackwell, who contributed 27, in the final over.