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2020 in Review

Wisden’s ODI innings of the year, No.3: Ross Taylor’s 109*

by Manoj Narayan 3-minute read

Ross Taylor has a habit of razing down big totals – against India in February 2020, he did it again, this time in the presence of Virat Kohli, the master of chases.

Ross Taylor 109* (84)

New Zealand v India, 1st ODI
Seddon Park, Hamilton
February 5, 2020

When you speak of ODI batting greats, for some inexplicable reason, Ross Taylor’s is a name that doesn’t often get mentioned, despite the fact that only three batsmen – all of whom do get mentioned in that conversation – have scored more runs than him since 2010.

On a February evening in 2020, just weeks before Covid-19 changed the face of life as we knew it, Taylor made his case again, in the presence of India’s captain, who is already widely regarded as an all-time ODI great.

Virat Kohli’s India had whitewashed New Zealand in a five-match T20I series before the ODIs, and it had caused some doubt over Taylor’s abilities in the shortest format. However, in the first ODI, Taylor proved an altogether different force. India set the Black Caps a seismic target of 348 – New Zealand chased it down with 11 balls to spare.

Taylor propelled the chase with his boisterous 84-ball 109*, but those cold numbers don’t convey the full magnitude of his knock. Consider these records instead: the chase was New Zealand’s most successful ever in ODI cricket and the second-highest against India in ODIs, after the 359 Australia managed in Mohali in 2019.

Taylor entered the chase when Tom Blundell fell for a 10-ball nine, and India sniffed a chance to trigger a slide. Instead, the veteran fortified the innings, putting on 62 with Henry Nicholls and then a game-changing 138 with Tom Latham. It wasn’t the most elegant of knocks, though. Instead, both Taylor and Latham resorted to slogs, making sure to nail them each time.

There was a slogged six off Jasprit Bumrah, more slogs off Shardul Thakur, and perhaps most pleasingly, more of it against Ravindra Jadeja, whose economical figures were ruined instantly. Furthermore, the New Zealand batsmen used the sweep to great effect against India’s spinners, with Taylor scoring 26 of his runs via that shot.

Taylor did well to keep the chase going despite losing Latham, Jimmy Neesham and Colin de Grandhomme in quick succession, using all his experience to finish the chase. There may be doubts over Taylor’s ability to do that in T20Is, but when it comes to ODI cricket, New Zealand haven’t had it better.

The shot

28.2, Jasprit Bumrah to Ross Taylor, SIX

Length ball. A little over 138 clicks. Taylor sizes it up, takes a step to off, and uses the pace of the ball to lift it high into the sky and several metres behind the fence. What made it pretty? The vertical bat. Taylor may have resorted to the slog on a few occasions during this innings, but this was all timing and pure class. You don’t just play pick-up shots off Bumrah. Taylor made it look routine.

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