With New Zealand very unlikely to reach the semi-finals, captain Sophie Devine is focusing on leading her side to a strong finish in front of capacity crowds.

The White Ferns take on Pakistan in Christchurch tomorrow in the first game with 100% attendance permitted and Devine is looking to bow out of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022 on a high.

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The hosts currently sit in sixth with four points and would need massive wins for Bangladesh against England and South Africa against India as well as one of their own against Pakistan to take qualification down to net run rate and stand any chance of making the knockout stages.

“I think we’ve got to be realistic about it,” Devine said. “I don’t know the exact numbers, but we do know that this is likely our final game here and that’s how we want to play it.

“Bob [Carter, head coach] mentioned it in training earlier today that tomorrow will be our final, it’s obviously not the final that we thought we would be playing in.

“But we’ve still got so much passion and pride that we want to make sure that we go out tomorrow and really put on a performance that we’re certainly proud of but also all our friends and family and the rest in New Zealand are hopefully really proud of as well.”

The White Ferns will be without Lea Tahuhu, their leading wicket-taker in this World Cup, who has failed to recover from a hamstring injury sustained in the loss to England.

Tahuhu will miss out on playing in a World Cup on her home ground, but the Christchurch native will be cheering on from the bench.

Devine added: “It’s always tough to miss out when you get the opportunity to play at home. She told me yesterday that she doesn’t have a great track record playing games for the New Zealand side here at Hagley [Oval].

“She pulled up lame a couple of years ago with another hamstring injury, so I think she’s only ever completed two out of four games, so maybe it’s a good sign that she’s sitting this one out.

“But we’ll certainly miss her experience. I think she’s been fantastic with the ball this competition and we’ll certainly miss her leading that pace attack.

“But she’ll be supporting from the sidelines. She’s certainly really hopeful that we’re going to have a full crowd in to support the White Ferns.”

On having fans back in increased numbers

Oh, it’s massive. You know, we’ve certainly been so proud to play in front of I think the crowds that we had in Hamilton and Wellington in particular were outstanding and now we’re only 20% - and we certainly, I guess thrive off that and we love the opportunity to play in front of live crowds. They  obviously have been a bit limited the last couple of years and I think hopefully the rest of New Zealand gets in behind us and they come along tomorrow and support the girls but also for the finals and the Semis - I really encourage all New Zealanders to get out there. This has been such a fantastic showcase of the women’s game, so I’d really encourage as many people to get out and get in behind the women’s game.

— With increased capacity allowed for the knockout stage of the World Cup, #TeamNewZealand captain Sophie Devine wants fans to come out in numbers even if the hosts are unlikely to be part of the business end of what has been a fantastic event.

While New Zealand have home advantage at Hagley Oval, Pakistan will also be in familiar surroundings having played England on the same ground two days earlier.

Pakistan sit bottom of the table with one win from their six games but are aiming to improve upon their nine-wicket loss to the holders.

Captain Bismah Maroof said: “I think we know the conditions now and especially in batting how we can apply ourselves more. And in bowling, we know these are likely for the fast bowlers, so we’ll plan better for the New Zealand match.”

Pakistan have struggled with the bat during the tournament with the usually dependable Aliya Riaz out of form having made just 73 runs in five innings.

However, Bismah is reluctant to put pressure on the right-hander who was named Pakistan’s Women’s Cricketer of the Year after a strong showing at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020.

“She is the kind of player we don’t want to pressure, and we just want her to apply herself, because we know that if we give her too much information then she will not be able to play,” the skipper added.

“So, we have given her a free space so that she can apply herself, but definitely she hasn’t had a good tournament.

“But she has also realised that, and I hope that she can continue whatever contribution she has done in the last year and perform for the team.”

Reflecting on the tournament where Pakistan came close to ending their ODI World Cup losing streak extending back to the 2009 edition a couple of times before actually managing to cross the line against West Indies, Bismah said batting will have to be the focus area going forward.

“These were two very close games which we should have won I think and the mistakes we had made - the key moments we are losing and not crossing the line.

“But the West Indies win gave us the confidence that we can do it and it’s just to do it consistently and have a belief and we can beat any team and of course I think the approach to our batting that should have been – we’ll talk about that and will change that in the future. I think the woman’s cricket overall has been changed and especially in batting, you have to score runs, to give a chance to bowlers to defend matches,” she said.

Content courtesy: ICC Business Corporation FZ LLC 2020

 Australia 7 7 0 +1.283 14
 South Africa 6 4 1 (1) +0.092 9
 West Indies 7 3 3 (1) -0.885 7
 England 6 3 3 +0.778 6
 India 6 3 3 +0.768 6
 New Zealand 6 2 4 -0.229 4
 Bangladesh 6 1 5 -0.809 2
 Pakistan 6 1 5 -1.280 2