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A win would be a dream come true: Stafanie Taylor

Australia has never lost a T20I to West Indies, but Lanning says the past will count for nothing in the Women's WT20 final

02 April 2016 19:36

A win would be a dream come true: Stafanie Taylor
 - Cricket News
A couple of months ago, Stafanie Taylor was part of the Sydney Thunder Women’s side that won the inaugural Women’s Big Bash League in Australia, contributing 372 runs and ten wickets across the season. Now, after three consecutive semifinal defeats, she will lead West Indies in the final of the ICC World Twenty20 for the first time. The opposition? Australia.

“What I like about the Aussies is that they’re fearless, in everything that they do,” said Taylor on the eve of the final at the historic Eden Gardens. “I try to instil that in our girls. Just go out there, play your natural game, be fearless.”

Australia has never lost a Twenty20 game to West Indies, having won its World Twenty20 semifinal clashes by 28 runs (Colombo, 2012) and eight runs (Dhaka, 2014). Meg Lanning, who has winners’ medals from both those tournaments, insisted, however, that the past would count for nothing on Sunday (April 3).

“It’s a big occasion, there’s no doubt about that, but these are the days we train and play for,” she said. “I can only speak for our team, but I’m really excited at the opportunity to play at such a famous ground in a World Cup final. It doesn’t get much better than that. We can’t wait to get out there.”

West Indies won three of its group matches, losing by a wicket to England, a game that ended with Taylor in tears. “There were so many close games, but I think England was the turning point for us,” she said. “We’re not intimidated at all. If anything, they should be. They (Australia) have won three times. We have nothing to lose really. We just want to go out there, be positive, grasp this and win the cup for the first time.”

With fewer and fewer women’s Test matches being played, it was put to Lanning that T20 might be the perfect platform for growing the game globally. “It’s an exciting format,” she said. “It creates a great atmosphere and people want to watch it. T20 cricket has been the vehicle for women’s cricket in the last few years. We love playing Test cricket when we get the chance to and we’d love to play more, but there’s no doubt that T20 cricket is the way forward for the women’s game.”

As much as the power-hitting and other skills, the West Indies men have entertained fans with their unique celebrations. In 2012, it was Chris Gayle leading the Gangnam style. This time, it’s Dwayne Bravo with his ‘Champion’ dance. “Bravo said to us that we’re not doing it enough,” said Taylor with a smile. “Tomorrow, if we do win, we’re going to do it a lot.”

So far, 2016 is shaping up as a memorable year for West Indies cricket. “It would mean a lot,” said Taylor when asked about the possible impact of the men and women doing the double in the finals. “We’ve been talking about it, just hanging out with the guys. It’s been so good.

“Words can’t really explain how much it would mean for both teams. Especially for us (the women), because we’ve never been to the final before. For us to get this one would be like a dream come true.”