22 Feb 2020

White Ferns seek turn in fortune

1:16 pm on 22 February 2020

The New Zealand women's cricket team are hoping to reverse recent fortunes at pinnacle events when the Twenty20 World Cup gets underway in Australia this weekend.

The White Ferns celebrate a wicket.

The White Ferns celebrate a wicket. Photo: Photosport

Across both white ball formats, the White Ferns have reached the semifinals at just one of the last five World Cups.

But with a new coach, new captain and several fresh faces on board, the team are looking to the future.

Vastly experienced batter Suzie Bates, who was there when they last played in a major tournament final a decade ago - said that fact is simply added motivation.

"The few of us that have been around for a while, we're just really desperate to get back to that semifinal stage.

"If we leave having not made it through to the next round we'll be really disappointed.

"Then there's that carrot of playing at the MCG in the final but it hasn't really changed how we go about it."

And it hadn't changed their preparations, which included a 3-1 home series win over South Africa, a loss to fellow contenders England and big win over newcomers Thailand.

Coach Bob Carter said the past was just that, and his message to the players had been to back themselves to step up when the pressure comes on.

"The girls want to do that. Whatever's happened in the past is gone, they want to look towards the future. That's how they've been working this all through.

"They know they've now got fulltime professional contracts and they want to reward that, as well as actually rewarding themselves with doing well at a pinnacle event."

Vital in achieving that would be the success of Devine, wicketkeeper Rachel Priest and Bates at the top of the New Zealand batting line-up.

NZ captain Sophie Devine.


The latter, though, felt those who follow the vastly experienced trio in the order were also key to the White Ferns' fortunes.

"This whole preparation and training and warm-up games has been finding out who in that middle order is going to give us our best chance to win the tournament," Bates said.

"It's going to rely on more than a couple of batters. We're going to need our top five and six firing."

Do that and they'll put themselves in the mix at a tournament where organisers were expecting to a massive sell-out crowd for the final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Australian captain Meg Lanning believed the event would only further enhance the growing stature of the women's game.

"The quality of cricket over the last few years, especially, has increased all the time and there's a number of world class sides.

"It's only a good thing for the women's game worldwide that there are a number of teams who can compete and who could win this World Cup."

New Zealand certainly considered themselves in that conversation.

But, according to Carter, it was the host nation who everyone was trying to knock off.

"There's only one favourite and that's Australia. Their record suggests that but as we know, Twenty20 cricket can almost bring everybody closer together.

"I wouldn't like to say that everyone is chasing Australia but with their record and how they've been playing, they're the clear favourites."

The White Ferns begin their campaign against Sri Lanka in Perth in the early hours of Sunday morning, New Zealand time.