We know they (England) are a very good side, but we know what we are capable of. –White Ferns all-rounder Amelia Kerr
By Roger Childs
Having the ICC limited-over World Cup in New Zealand has been great for women’s cricket. Home advantage is always a big plus – for the White Ferns every match has been a home game with local crowds cheering them on. But can our girls make the finals? They have only won two matches out of five in the round-robin play and must win their last two games to have any chance.
There have been two losses to the West Indies and South Africa by very narrow margins, but being close is not enough.
We’ve certainly have had “Aussie cricket fever” in recent years and seem to freeze when we play the boys and girls from across the Tasman. The White Ferns had thrashed the Australians by 9 wickets in a warm-up games in Queenstown, but the Aussies never worry about pre-tournament matches. You save your best for the real thing.
The New Zealanders had the perfect opportunity to beat their trans-Tasman rivals in front of a big crowd at the Basin Reserve last weekend but failed miserably. The Aussies plundered the White Ferns bowling, especially in the last 10 overs, to score 269. Then they rolled the home side for 128 much to the disappointment of the Wellington spectators.
Then on Thursday in Hamilton after very good contributions from Sophie Devine, Melle Kerr and Maddy Green they lost their last five wickets for 30 runs. South Africa chased down the 229 target with three balls to spare.
Getting into the semi-finals is a long shot
The White Ferns must beat England in Auckland to make the last four. The English are the defending champions so it’s a big ask. To win the New Zealanders must bat well and not lose quick wickets. Unfortunately in their three losses so far strong batting at the top of the order has not been followed up further down. That has to change.
As regards the bowling the White Ferns need to apply the pressure from the start and bowl tightly in the last ten overs.
England must be favoured and it would be an exceptional performance if the home side was to win. It’s all or nothing at Eden Park on Sunday.