New Zealand v England ODIs

Taylor's perfect birthday lunch spoiled

Forced to shelve plans to open an expensive bottle of red, the star Kiwi has now been offered $181 worth of KFC

AFP & Cricket Network

08 March 2018, 03:28 PM

Taylor's knock for ages sets up series decider

Ross Taylor has all the ingredients for his "perfect birthday lunch" but the star batsman may have to delay his celebration as he faces a race to be fit for New Zealand's series-deciding one-day international against England.

On the eve of his 34th birthday, Taylor overcame cramps and a severe thigh strain to bludgeon the Black Caps to victory with a career-best unbeaten 181 in the fourth ODI in Hamilton on Wednesday.

Grimacing with pain after every shot and limping between the wickets late in his innings, the veteran right-hander levelled the series 2-2 to set up a winner-takes-all clash in Christchurch on Saturday.

Taylor had planned on opening a special bottle of wine to celebrate his birthday on Thursday, but admitted he'd have to save it for another day in a bid to speed up his recovery. 

"I'm not plugging my birthday, but I did have a very nice bottle of wine in my suitcase which I was going to open but, damn it, don't think I can have it if I'm to give myself any chance of playing on Saturday," he said.

Adding to his temptation was a special offer from KFC, who tweeted at Taylor offering him $181 worth of 'Chicken Dollars' in honour of his match-winning knock.

Four years ago when he turned 30, Taylor himself tweeted a picture of his "perfect birthday lunch" – a bucket of KFC and a bottle of red wine.

Taylor said on Thursday he was desperate to play in the one-day series decider, but New Zealand coach Mike Hesson was reluctant to play him for the crunch match if there was risk of long-term injury. 

"We need to know the extent of it and whether it's one of those injuries that can get worse, or whether you can grin and bear it, we're just not sure yet," Hesson told reporters.

Rookie batsman Mark Chapman has been called in as cover but Taylor said he would be icing his injured thigh and resting with the intention of taking the field, even if he’s not fully fit.

"I'm hoping to," he told Radio Sport. 

"Obviously I won't be 100 (percent) but we'll just see how it pulls up in the next couple of days and give it the best chance possible."

Taylor hurt his thigh earlier in the series and then aggravated it diving to avoid a run out as the Kiwis chased England's challenging target of 336.

The 34-year-old's 181 not out was his 19th ODI century and the third highest score by a New Zealander in the 50-over format.