Playing a marquee event at home, in pretty much any sport, could be a double-edged sword. On the one side, is the familiarity. The comforts of being in surroundings that you are used to. The conditions. The support. On the other side, lie the pressure and expectations.
Sophie Devine’s New Zealand will have to find a way to maximise the former and embrace the latter as they look to emulate the famous feat of 2000 when Emily Drumm, Debbie Hockley and Co won the title.
The White Ferns enter the tournament in great form having had a not so good run in the past year. A 4-1 series win against India followed by a stunning warm-up win against Australia (even if in an unofficial capacity) have put them firmly back in the mix for a top four finish, even if a while back there were some worries if they could miss out.
Their record since the 2017 World Cup is not the most impressive but their recent results will give hope for the New Zealand faithful.
And speaking of recent form, New Zealand have Amelia Kerr at the start of what appears to be a purple patch. The 21-year-old allrounder was magnificent for NZ in the series against India with the bat and chipped in with crucial wickets too with her leg-spin (now that she has turned into a batter-allrounder). And on the field, she is an absolute livewire.
Record since Jul 24, 2017 for the 8 WC teams
|Team||Mat||Won||Lost||Tied||NR||W/L||Scoring rate||Highest score||Lowest score|
NZ's ODI results since Jan 2021
|NZ||lost||8 wickets||v ENG||Christchurch||23 Feb 2021|
|NZ||lost||7 wickets||v ENG||Dunedin||26 Feb 2021|
|NZ||won||7 wickets||v ENG||Dunedin||28 Feb 2021|
|NZ||lost||6 wickets||v AUS||Mount Maunganui||4 Apr 2021|
|NZ||lost||71 runs||v AUS||Mount Maunganui||7 Apr 2021|
|NZ||lost||21 runs||v AUS||Mount Maunganui||10 Apr 2021|
|NZ||lost||30 runs||v ENG||Bristol||16 Sep 2021|
|NZ||lost||13 runs||v ENG||Worcester||19 Sep 2021|
|NZ||won||3 wickets||v ENG||Leicester||21 Sep 2021|
|NZ||lost||3 wickets||v ENG||Derby||23 Sep 2021|
|NZ||lost||203 runs||v ENG||Canterbury||26 Sep 2021|
|NZ||won||62 runs||v India||Queenstown||12 Feb 2022|
|NZ||won||3 wickets||v India||Queenstown||15 Feb 2022|
|NZ||won||3 wickets||v India||Queenstown||18 Feb 2022|
|NZ||won||63 runs||v India||Queenstown||22 Feb 2022|
|NZ||lost||6 wickets||v India||Queenstown||24 Feb 2022|
Player of the series Amelia Kerr vs IND
Devine has been confident in her team’s ability to handle the expectations as she leads her team at a home World Cup. Devine and her White Ferns teammates are inspired by the New Zealand teams of the past as they go in search of silverware.
She said: “We know if we play a really exciting brand of cricket that we can get the whole country behind. That’s going to leave a legacy.
“I think it’s something that the Blackcaps did particularly well in 2015. They really did have the whole country behind them and we’re hoping we can do something similar in igniting the passion that so many Kiwis have for their sport and hopefully they can get behind us as well.”
The last time New Zealand hosted the ICC Women’s World Cup they came away champions, and Devine has fond memories of the 2000 triumph.
“That was probably one of the first times I’d watched women’s cricket on TV and it’s not a bad one to watch,” Devine said. “There’s a number of us players that were inspired by those players who played in that tournament and it’s pretty incredible to think now here we are, some 20 odd years later, hosting our own World Cup tournament with the opportunity to hopefully replicate what they did back in 2000.”
History at the tournament
Best result(s): Winners 2000
The omens are good for the hosts, who won the tournament last time it was played in New Zealand 22 years ago.
The White Ferns won a thrilling final by four runs against Australia on that occasion, successfully defending 184 at the Bert Sutcliffe Oval to exact revenge for a defeat against the same opponents three years before.
New Zealand were also runners-up in 1993 and 2009, while Debbie Hockley remains way out in front on the list of the competition’s all-time leading batters having plundered 1,501 runs between 1982 and 2000.
Sophie Devine (c), Amy Satterthwaite (vc), Suzie Bates, Maddy Green, Brooke Halliday, Hayley Jensen, Fran Jonas, Jess Kerr, Melie Kerr, Frankie Mackay, Rosemary Mair, Katey Martin, Hannah Rowe, Lea Tahuhu, Georgia Plimmer
Traveling reserve: Molly Penfold
Note: Lauren Down was ruled out of the squad after an injury during the India series and was replaced by Georgia Plimmer.
Players to watch out for
Suzie Bates: Only Debbie Hockley has scored more World Cup runs for the White Ferns than Suzie Bates, who topped the standings in 2013 with 407 runs.
In 2009, as she made her World Cup debut, Bates was named as an opener in the Team of the Tournament having scored 275 runs, while 2017 saw her bring her overall total to 924.
Amy Satterthwaite: Not too far behind Bates is Amy Satterthwaite who has scored 559 runs across three World Cups including a high score of 103 against England in 2013.
In all ODIs, the left-hander has played 130 innings and scored 4420 runs and with over 2000 of those coming in boundaries.
Fran Jonas: She won’t even be 18 by the time the World Cup ends but she has already got all the experience she needs to play at a home World Cup.
Jonas has three ODI appearances to her name, and her first international wicket, and she is just following on from her impressive form in New Zealand’s domestic competition.
In 2020, the left-arm finger spinner took three wickets in the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield final as Auckland Hearts claimed the one-day title.
The next season saw Jonas take 13 wickets as Auckland made the showpiece again and she has picked up six scalps in four matches before the White Ferns and a World Cup debut came calling.
- NEW ZEALAND vs WEST INDIES, Fri 04 March 06:30 IST, Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui
- NEW ZEALAND vs BANGLADESH, Mon 07 March 03:30 IST, University Oval, Dunedin
- NEW ZEALAND vs INDIA, Thu 10 March 06:30 IST, Seddon Park, Hamilton
- NEW ZEALAND vs AUSTRALIA, Sun 13 March 03:30 IST, Basin Reserve, Wellington
- NEW ZEALAND vs SOUTH AFRICA, Thu 17 March 06:30 IST, Seddon Park, Hamilton
- NEW ZEALAND vs ENGLAND, Sun 20 March 03:30 IST, Eden Park, Auckland
- NEW ZEALAND vs PAKISTAN, Sat 26 March 03:30 IST, Hagley Oval, Christchurch
Excerpts for this article taken from ICC Online Media Zone (Courtesy: ICC Business Corporation FZ LLC 2020)