Stafanie Taylor, Superior to the Statistics

Thu, Jul 8, '21



As the technology evolved, it no longer became necessary for sports fans to delay tasks in order to ‘catch the game,’ neither would they need to await evening sportscasts to be reliably informed of results. We now have the privileges of live-streaming apps, as well as that of live updates. The worry, however, with the latter, is that neither scorecards nor text commentary, can ever truly capture elegance. Neither can it betray the sincere intelligence of a player.

At the start of the West Indies Women’s T20I series against Pakistan, West Indies captain, Stafanie Taylor, looked anything but herself, to the extent of her fitness being brought into question. And her scores of 11 from 18 and 5 from 11 did not help her cause.

 Yet, the West Indies needing just 102 runs from their 20 overs—in the 3rd and final T20I, to claim a 3-nil series sweep—provided the perfect platform for the Jamaican to regain her form. And so, she did; driving her way to 43 unbeaten.

Now, when Taylor walked to the crease at number 4 in the first ODI, against the same opposition on Wednesday afternoon, she did so in the 12th over with just the 42 runs on the scoreboard. Taylor’s innings was not her most fluent, neither could it be described as a toil. In fact, far from it. Truth be told, within the context of this game, the WINDIES captain fashioned the perfect innings.

Sometimes, we forget just how much time there is in a One Day International game. Perhaps, it has something to do with the colour of the ball being the same as that of the one used in the shortest format. But the deliberate ebbs and flows which checkered Taylor’s innings, demonstrated just how many power shifts are still possible in the in-between format.

The right-handed Taylor got off to a slow start, managing just 5 runs from her first 21 deliveries (ebb). But with everything from ones, twos, threes, and boundaries, she accumulated 41 runs from her next 41 deliveries (flow). When Taylor got to her 37th ODI half-century from 62 deliveries, the West Indies were in the driver’s seat.

Another period of immediate fight-back, from the visiting Pakistanis, allowed the skipper only 3 runs from her next 10 deliveries (ebb). The girl from St. Catherine responded by coming down the crease to Sadia Iqbal, nonchalantly hoisting the spinner over long-on for six runs (flow).

A stagnant partnership between Taylor and Chedean Nation then saw the former’s strike-rate dip a touch under 77 (ebb). Taylor set about rectifying the stutter in the West Indies innings by first, putting on an exhibition of precision, in carving out a gap in-between bowler Nashra Sandhu (coming over the wicket) and the mid-off fielder, for 4. The very next delivery was then deposited to the same boundary, this time over the mid-off fielder, for a similar result (flow).

No one will ever describe this innings as Taylor at her smoothest. Rather, it is an innings to be remembered for her intelligence; where she quickly understood that the West Indies were never running out of time in their chase of 206; instead, the danger was in the loss of wickets.

And within that concept, there was the willingness to acknowledge when power had shifted to the visitors. But still the ability to wrestle back that power for her team, via her skill to pattern risk-free boundary-scoring opportunities at will. Something yesterday’s scorecard, by no fault of its own, is not able to portray.