The Hundred: Mary Taylor's Brave new world

Mary Taylor came into the attack in the power play and bowled her first ten balls to return with figures of 2 for 1 and then returned to pick up a third wicket

Shivangi Sinha
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Mary Taylor

Mary Taylor (R) celebrates a wicket with Rhianna Southby (L) © Getty Images

Coming into their opening match against Trent Rockets in The Hundred, Southern Brave were feeling the need for another fast bowler as their regular right arm swing bowler Lauren Bell was rested from the first two matches by the England management after an exhausting Ashes. That also meant it was an opportunity for someone young.

And Mary Taylor came to the party grabbing that opportunity with both hands. The 18 year old speedster took it upon herself and wreaked havoc in the Rockets batting line-up. Taylor showed no nerves in her debut ‘The Hundred match as she took three wickets while giving away only 18 runs from her 20 balls.

“I enjoyed it, it was really good, quite surreal out here. I am so excited to be a part of this competition,” an ecstatic Taylor told Sky Sports while talking about her debut.

Taylor came to bowl the fourth set of their bowling innings with Brave putting up a competitive 157 on the board thanks to the heroics from Smriti Mandhana. It took her just two balls to register her maiden wicket in the tournament when Naomi Dattani tried to send the ball over deep square-leg but was caught comfortably by Freya Kemp.

That brought Natalie Sciver-Brunt, in the form of her life, to the crease. But even that did not shake young Taylor’s confidence. The right-arm pacer bowled three dot balls on the trot to her. That meant her first set of five balls produced one wicket at the cost of just one run.

Taylor came to bowl another set with one of the best ball strikers Lizelle Lee on strike after the big-hitting opener hit Anya Shrubsole for two boundaries in the preceding set. But the brave bowler removed Lee with her seventh ball as the batter skied one to Maitlan Brown - another pace bowler on debut in The Hundred - at point.

Taylor’s second set was a replica of her first set with a wicket coming off on the second ball followed by three consecutive dots. At the end of her first two sets, she took two wickets giving away just one run. Rockets were reeling at 21 for 3 at this stage.

Game, set, and match! Well, almost. Brave couldn’t afford to relax with Sciver-Brunt and Harmanpreet Kaur still at the crease.

ALSO READ: Smriti Mandhana, Mary Taylor headline The Hundred 2023 opener

Things did not stop there. ‘In comes Taylor, out goes the batter’, this was the tale of the debutant’s dream spell. The Southern Vipers pacer came back to bowl the penultimate set with Anya Shrubsole already ripping out Sciver-Brunt. Taylor then got her third scalp of the match when Jo Gardner crumbled while trying to smash the ball over cow corner.

Southern Brave won the match comfortably by 27 runs to once again start their tournament campaign to a wonderful start.

A dream debut for Taylor - if ever there was one!

"Playing against the world class players would elevate their (domestic players) game so much, Mary (Mary Taylor) would have learned so much from bowling today out here and obviously being successful. That's what you want and it's great to see,” Shrubsole said after the match as she lauded the young pacer.

Taylor showed no sign of nerves even post match as she reiterated her bowling mantra when asked about the lessons from the head coach Charlotte Edwards.

"She (Charlotte Edwards) said bowl straight with my variations coming into the game later, she helped me and told me when I needed to use them. The ultimate advice was to bowl straight, at the toes or legs,” Taylor concluded.