21 Mar 2024

White Ferns ready for rare Nelson match

5:54 pm on 21 March 2024
Amelia Kerr (L) and Sophie Devine during the 2nd One Day International match between the New Zealand White Ferns and Sri Lanka Women at Galle.

Amelia Kerr (L) and Sophie Devine will return for the White Ferns on Friday. Photo: photosport

The White Ferns return to Nelson on Friday after nearly a decade away, with captain Sophie Devine saying women's cricket has "transformed" since they were last there.

New Zealand play England in the second game of a five-match T20 series at Saxton Oval and will be trying to level the series after a 27-run loss in game one on Tuesday.

Devine missed game one as she travelled home from India where she had won the Women's Premier League with the Royal Challengers Bangalore but was optimistic about what her team mates had been able to do in her absence.

"We actually played good pieces of cricket in chunks. I think it is putting it together though and we know with this England side you're going to have to play good cricket for a majority of the game.

"So for us it is just little things with the bat I think we probably got a little bit stuck through those middle phases so being able to rotate strike and find the boundary is something we have identified as a group.

"With the ball again I think we did really well we created opportunities throughout the bowling innings it's just for us taking those opportunities and trying to put their lower order under pressure."

White Ferns player Rachel Priest tries for a run out during the 2nd Twenty20 cricket match against Sri Lanka at Saxton Oval in 2015.

White Ferns player Rachel Priest tries for a run out during the 2nd Twenty20 cricket match against Sri Lanka at Saxton Oval in 2015. Photo: Chris Symes

The last time the White Ferns played in Nelson was in 2015 when they completed a series whitewash over Sri Lanka.

Devine wanted the locals to show up in big numbers again on Friday.

"The women's game has sort of transformed over the last couple years and I certainly do think the game's moved forward considerably [since 2015] and when you're playing against the number two side in the world as well the quality of the cricket has certainly improved, so looking forward to hopefully having these banks filled up with the locals hopefully cheering us on and giving England a bit of stick which is always nice."

Devine was not the only player the White Ferns welcome back for game two, with star allrounder Amelia Kerr also back from her stint at the WPL.

The duo's return would bring the team confidence, Devine said.

She also hoped they would both contribute with bat and ball in a squad that was looking to lock in a starting 11 ahead of this year's T20 World Cup.

"We've got a pretty settled side now with a fair few experienced numbers but we've also got these younger players that have now been involved in this set up for a year or two and are starting to find their feet a little bit more so we're starting to build a really nice style of play and we know if we can all contribute and play our roles we're going to be a real threat."

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