Kiss of life for Taylor

Sarah Taylor told ECBtv she was relieved after finally getting a big score at the World Cup

Badge-kissing has become a common sight in modern sport, but the England women’s team have struck upon a novel new concept: bat-kissing.

Video analyst Gemma Broad planted a smacker on Sarah Taylor’s new bat before the game against West Indies, in the hope that it would spark a change in fortune after a disappointing run of scores.

Taylor, whose biggest contribution in four World Cup innings prior to yesterday was 38, went on to hit a fine 78 and propel England to a 146-run victory which secured their place in the final.

“Gemma Broad kissed it before I went out and said, ‘You’re going to get some runs today,’ so I’d like to thank her for that," said a grinning Taylor. “It was a nice bat and it did me well.

“It was nice to get some runs; I haven’t done particularly well this tournament. It was a tough wicket so I think I needed a scrappy innings.”

Sarah Taylor

Sarah Taylor puts her poor run of form behind her with an increasingly fluent 78 against West Indies

As well as Broad’s unique contribution, Taylor put her return to form down to a change in mindset. Though far from fluent during the early stages of her innings, the 19-year-old visibly grew in confidence during a 134-run opening stand with Caroline Atkins.

“Once I got to my fifty I was able to play my game,” added Taylor. “I just homed in a little. I played sensibly and hit the gaps, and that’s what I really needed to do, build my confidence.

“I’m relieved to get through that game. We were expected to win but to do it quite comfortably was nice.”

England meet Australia in their final Super Six encounter at the North Sydney Oval tomorrow, in a game that will mean nothing in terms of qualification.

But Taylor is keen to use the clash with the current champions as preparation for Sunday’s final.

“Definitely the focus is on Australia,” she said. “You have to take one game at a time. Australia will give us some good competition, which will be good for the final.

“We’ve got a good few days to prepare for the final, so we’re just going to do it well. I haven’t really thought about that yet, but it hasn’t happened for a few years so it’s nice to be there.”