No.2 in Wisden’s women’s innings of the 2000s is Claire Taylor’s unbeaten 76 against Australia to take England through to the 2009 Women’s World T20 final.
Claire Taylor 76 not out (53)
Australia v England, 2009 Women’s World T20 semi-final
The Oval, London
June 19, 2009
“Again it was them getting in our way.” The Australians had bothered Claire Taylor and England once more.
At the 50-over World Cup three months earlier, Karen Rolton’s side had claimed victory in the Super Six stage. It didn’t matter for Charlotte Edwards’ team as they took home the trophy, but their greatest rivals ensured it wasn’t an unbeaten campaign.
At The Oval, a place in the first Women’s World T20 final, at Lord’s, was the prize. England weren’t only planning to win but dominate the world, too. The blueprints were clear: they had the ODI World Cup, the T20 one would follow, and the Ashes later that summer would seal the treble. But the Australians had put up 163-5 on the board, the second-highest score of the tournament. Their second-highest score of the tournament.
Seven overs into the chase, England were 43-2, behind the required rate and with world domination looking unlikely, but in Taylor they had a trailblazer at her zenith. She’d led the run-scoring charts in their victorious World Cup campaign and been announced as the first female Wisden Cricketer of the Year shortly after. And when it came to run chases, her methods ignored the surrounding bluster and focused on the cold hard facts.
“I’m the kind of batter that thinks runs scored in run chases are worth twice as much as those scored batting first,” Taylor told wisden.com earlier this year. “I practised and practised run chases for a long time.”
According to Taylor, the Australians failed to adjust to the ground dimensions at The Oval – Taunton had hosted all of the tournament’s pool-stage games – and “didn’t get their angles right in the field”. She capitalised, accompanying her eight fours with 13 twos. In Beth Morgan (46 from 34 balls) she found a highly capable partner, and the pair’s stand was never broken; in the final over of the match, Taylor put the finishing touches on the then highest chase in women’s T20Is to cue a hearty embrace with her colleague at the other end.
England went on to win the tournament and retain the Ashes to complete their quest, but Taylor’s innings served a wider context, too. “It was a really pivotal game for women’s cricket,” Edwards later said. “It made a few people, certainly on the male side of the game, sit up and watch the women’s side.” Taylor had forced them to.