“We have the side that can beat any team in the world,” says New Zealand captain ahead of ICC Women’s World Cup India 2013
New Zealand captain Suzie Bates believes her side’s meticulous preparation will stand them in good stead during the ICC Women’s World Cup 2013.
Bates is hoping that a restructured domestic season and a hard-fought 1-3 Rose Bowl series loss at the hands of Australia is the ideal preparation for the side for the tournament that begins on 31 January in Mumbai.*
“We have changed our domestic format so we are playing two 50 overs and one T20 a weekend. We are going to have a lot more 50-over cricket than we have had in the past seasons. We will definitely be well prepared in terms of time out in the middle,” opined Bates.
The 25-year-old Bates has played 49 ODIs and thus far has captained her side in 10 One-Day Internationals.
New Zealand is drawn in Group B alongside Australia, Pakistan and South Africa. The White Ferns begins its campaign against South Africa on 1 February at the Wankhede Stadium, also the venue of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 final.
Bates believes that Australia will be the toughest challenge for her side in the Group stage.
“I think they (Australia) are probably the leading one-day side at the moment in the world. They have got some very powerful opening batters including the likes of (Rachael) Haynes and then they have got heaps of experience in Sthalekar and Blackwell in the middle order, so their batting line-up is really well-balanced and strong. Then they have got strike bowlers like Ellyse Perry who can take any batting side apart, so you know, they have got all bases covered.”
Of the other sides in the group, Bates had this to say: “I know from the ICC World T20 that South Africa has definitely improved their cricket since the last time we played them. We saw Pakistan for the first time at ICC World T20 and I know that they have been putting lots of work in their fielding. So we are well aware of what we are coming up against and are confident that we can beat both these sides as well.”
Bates believes her side has the right mix to come good in the tournament, especially because of a couple of all-round options.
“I think Sophie Devine who has come back into the side showed in Sri Lanka what she can do in limited-overs cricket. So she will be a massive asset for us in India along with Nicola Browne. Their power hitting and strike bowling will be a big plus for us.”
Bates is hoping to build on the knowledge of the sub-continent conditions gathered by recently playing in the ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka.
“Well, I guess it is quite exciting knowing that we have been to Sri Lanka and had the experience in the sub-continent conditions. We had a camp leading up to the ICC WT20 so we have had plenty of match practice. India will be very similar. We are going to have to be at our best to go the whole way. If we perform (well) we have the side that can beat any team in the world.”
The runner-up of the ICC Women’s World Cup in 2009, New Zealand, has always promised a lot on the big stage but lacked the knockout punch.
Bates is confident that her side can finally pull one through in Mumbai this year.
“We have always made the semi-final stages in the past four world events. I think it’s just (about playing) under pressure and being able to perform as well as we have (been) in the pool matches (that will count in the end).
“We are under no illusions that to win a World Cup you have to beat the likes of England and Australia, to do that we have to put our best game forward and we have not done that in a world event yet (in the recent past). So it’s an understanding that leading up to the knockout stages we need to be really clear on our roles to beat the better sides,” reckoned Bates.
Defending champion England obviously remains the team to beat and Bates is prepared for the challenge.
“I don’t think it really matters at a World Cup what group you are in. To win a World Cup you have to beat all the sides and England is just as strong. When we play them in the knockout hopefully we will have the right game for them,” signed off Bates.
*This is an ICC piece