England book World Cup final berth

Claire Taylor

Claire Taylor accepts the applause after reaching 50 at quicker than a run a ball

England reached their first World Cup final in 16 years as they chalked up a record-equalling 17th straight ODI win by crushing West Indies by 146 runs.

Charlotte Edwards' side were indebted to Claire Taylor's swashbuckling half-century, having collapsed from 134 without loss to 145 for four amid some indecisive batting.

The number one batsmen in women's cricket smashed a rapid 65 off just 56 balls as England reached 236 for eight, which included an attractive 78 from Sarah Taylor and a workmanlike fifty from Caroline Atkins.

West Indies never looked likely to get close to their target despite some lusty hitting from Deandra Dottin and Pamela Lavine. They were bowled out for a meagre 90 with almost 12 overs unused.

For England, it secured their first appearance in a World Cup final since 1993, although their opponents - likely to be New Zealand - will not be confirmed on until Thursday.

On a sunny morning, England captain Charlotte Edwards won the toss and opted to bat first at the Drummoyne Oval, a picturesque ground situated on the Parramatta River.

Sarah Taylor, who batted supremely well at net practice the previous afternoon, continued where she left off with a sparking cover drive in the first over which raced along the dew-covered outfield.

Caroline Atkins followed in her partner's slipstream as England rattled along to 40 without loss after eight overs.

England's progress was checked when West Indies captain Merissa Aguilleira, who would use nine bowlers, made a double change, introducing the highly regarded 17-year-old off-spinner Stafanie Taylor and veteran medium-pacer Lavine.

Taylor and Atkins found scoring much harder against the slower bowlers and, with pressure growing, were forced into some kamikaze running which, had West Indies' throwing been more accurate - at times it resembled tipsy punters aiming at a coconut shy - England might have been in trouble.

Sarah Taylor

Sarah Taylor's fine 78 helps England post a challenging 236 for eight against West Indies at the Drummoyne Oval

Not only was the throwing erratic, but West Indies twice dropped catches off Atkins, the last of which was a spilled caught-and-bowled chance by Anisa Mohammed when the batsmen had made 36.

The England pair clung on, Taylor recording her first fifty of the competition, off 81 balls, before she rediscovered her boundary touch, effortlessly lifting Kirbyina Alexander back over her head to bring up the century stand.

She then climbed into a short delivery from the same bowler and dispatched it towards her team-mates, who were resting in the shade offered by a gazebo. Taylor was now in full flow, skipping down the wicket moments later and punching Anisa Mohammed over cover for another boundary.

With a century seemingly there for the taking, Taylor was run out by a rare direct hit, Shanel Daley throwing down the stumps from short third man to end an excellent opening stand.

Daley sprung a double blow in the next over when she bowled Atkins, who had just reached a patient half-century - her third of the tournament - before attempting a wild drive.

England stuttered slightly, losing their third wicket for as many runs when Lydia Greenway dragged on off Afy Fletcher without scoring.

Beth Morgan was next to go, bowled playing back to one that kept low from Daley as England slumped to 145 for four in the 37th over.

Claire Taylor relieved some of the pressure by creaming a long hop from Fletcher for six over long-on and she pulled the same bowler through mid-on in the following over as England prepared to launch a late onslaught.

Jenny Gunn perished in the 45th over when a slog-sweep off Fletcher fell into Taylor's lap as she patrolled the boundary.

Nicky Shaw

Nicky Shaw celebrates the wicket of Deandra Dottin as England cruised to victory

Taylor marched on and swept her namesake for six over midwicket before taking 10 off three balls in Daley's next over, which included a sumptuous drive to bring up her 19th ODI half-century, off just 46 deliveries.

Charlotte Edwards was bowled in the late search for runs but Taylor remained, peppering the cover boundary to take England well beyond the 200 mark before eventually falling leg before.

Holly Colvin was run out first ball by Lavine, who fielded well off her own bowling before calmly taking aim and throwing down the stumps, but consecutive boundaries by Laura Marsh further bolstered the England total.

West Indies' reply got off to the worst start possible when Aguilleira was run out by Nicky Shaw attempting an impossible single.

At the other end Stefanie Taylor conjured up the shot of the day when she lofted Jenny Gunn for a straight six, but there were few moments of cheer for the side coached by former West Indies Test batsman Sherwin Campbell.

Gunn would get her revenge for that huge blow, Stefanie Taylor's sliced drive looping straight to Greenway at gully.

West Indies plunged further in trouble when Katherine Brunt castled Danielle Small to reduce the Windies to 19 for three. Just three more runs were added when West Indies suffered another setback, Colvin getting in on the act to trap Charlene Taitt leg before.

Dottin and Lavine staged a mini-recovery, the former cracking Shaw for two sweetly-timed drives before heaving a free-hit from Colvin high over the midwicket boundary.

But the resistance was brief as first Shaw induced Dottin to get a faint edge which Taylor held standing up, then Marsh pinned Lavine in front to reduce West Indies to 68 for six.

Marsh completed a double strike en route to 3-17 - figures that took her to 13 wickets for the tournament - when Alexandra chipped straight to Atkins.

Edwards brought herself into the attack, perhaps in a bid to get the job over with, and soon cleaned up Fletcher in her sixth over from the River End before Marsh completed the rout, with Daley unable to bat.