ICC WOMEN’S WORLD T20 2018
Cricbuzz Staff •
Australia pacer caught a stunner against India to dismiss Veda Krishnamurthy in the Group B game © Getty
World tournaments are usually cliched to be a great opportunity to showcase your skills, while it’s also a perfect platform to become an overnight star, it makes you do things that you don’t anticipate; like taking a screamer of a catch or smashing a 36-ball 62 after enduring hypoglycemia.
The on-going Women’s World T20 has been nothing short of exceptional, and when it reaches its closure in a week’s time, the highlights package will constitute one surprising yet obvious, name from Australia, Tayla Vlaeminck, the 20-year old who rose many-a-brows with her specky of a catch to dismiss India’s Veda Krishnamurthy.
India were going great guns against Australia and were 128 for 3 at the end of 15 overs. With Smriti Mandhana batting like a dream, and with plenty of batting to follow a total of 180 seemed inevitable. Just three balls into the 16th over, hard-hitting Veda whipped one off her pads and nudged back assuming it to be a boundary, or a two at least. Seconds later, she stood stunned watching the Victoria-born Vlaeminck pluck one out of thin air on her debut. That catch not only fizzled out the momentum India had but gave Australia something to cheer in an otherwise ordinary outing.
“It’s a bit of a blur really,” Vlaeminck said unravelling the emotions after claiming the catch. “So when I saw it coming my way it was just natural instinct that took over and I was lucky enough to get a hand on it and it stuck. It was a bit of a fluke to be honest, but it was pretty cool.”
Having missed a couple of WBBL seasons through injury concerns ( two knee reconstructions and a dislocated shoulder), Vlaeminck finally got her due after she replaced her Melbourne Renegades teammate Georgia Wareham, to become the 51st player to represent Australia in T20Is. “Tayla comes in for Georgia. We feel that extra pace could be handy on this pitch. Tayla has been keeping us on our toes in the nets and hopefully, she can produce the goods,” Meg Lanning, Australian skipper, was all praise for Vlaeminck during the toss.
Although Australia lost the game by a huge margin, the memories of making debut on a big stage is something Vlaeminck describes as ‘unbelievable’. “If someone told me two or three years ago this would be happening now, I wouldn’t have believed them. And even two or three months ago, if someone said I’d be making my T20 debut at the T20 World Cup, I would have laughed at them. I did a lot of hard work to get over (those injuries) and to get here, but it’s still an amazing opportunity that I’m pretty grateful for.”
Vlaeminck opened the bowling for Australia and conceded 9 runs in 2 overs. She, unfortunately, didn’t get further opportunity to bowl as Lanning turned to experience in the middle and final overs of the game. Decoding the pre-game blues Vlaeminck said: “I was in the huddle and (captain) Meg said they’d start with me and I thought ‘oh God’, I was pretty nervous but it was good to get into it early.
“I didn’t know where the ball was going in that first over, I couldn’t really feel my hands I was so nervous, but it turned out okay. It was good to get a good first over in and get the nerves away, then coming into the second over I felt a lot better and like I could control what I was trying to do.”
Vlaeminck also hoped that this would open doors for her WBBL debut this year starting early December. “I’m pretty excited to make my debut hopefully for the Renegades when I get back if I’m given the opportunity. I was unlucky both years with injury, for the first full season and three-quarters of the second one, but hopefully if they give me a chance I’m a ready for it this year”
Australia are set to play hosts Windies in the first semi-final in Antigua on Thursday, a repeat of the final of the previous edition of Women’s World T20.