It’s been a fantastic summer of cricket and the White Ferns have been a big part of that. While disappointed not to progress from further in the ICC World Twenty20, there’s still plenty of reasons to be positive – here’s five reasons why.
1. Plenty of exciting new talent
Sam Curtis, Felicity Leydon-Davis, Hayley Jensen and Holly Huddleston all made their debuts this season and each of them can walk away feeling confident that they can mix it with the best.
While they all made solid contributions at one stage or another, two of the biggest highlights came from Huddleston and Leydon-Davis, breaking records in their debut series. Huddleston was the first to steal the spotlight, taking her maiden-five wicket bag with figures of 5-36 in the White Ferns second match against the West Indies – the best by a New Zealander against their Caribbean opponent.
Incredibly, the record wouldn’t last long, with Leydon-Davis taking the record on debut in the third match. The 19-year-old announced herself as a star of the future with match analysis of 5-18, playing a key role in giving the White Ferns a 3-0 ODI series victory.
To have four players come in and do so well bodes well for the future of the White Ferns – watch this space.
2.A series sweep against the West Indies
New Zealand had already been treated to a spectacular summer by the BLACKCAPS and the White Ferns carried on where they left off, continuing to treat cricket fans with a series sweep over the West Indies.
Even the most optimistic fans would have been hard pressed to predict both an ODI and Twenty20 series whitewash, combining to give the White Ferns a 7-0 margin. In fact, most of the victories were fairly convincing, applying good pressure and winning the key moments of every match.
All 14 players featured in the series and all significantly contributed. It was the sort of depth rarely seen in White Ferns teams gone by and this was evident in the results.
3.Beating Australia in the ICC World Twenty20
The ICC World Twenty20 will predominantly be associated with the disappointment of not making the semi-finals, but it shouldn’t be forgotten that the White Ferns beat eventual champions Australia in their first pool match.
The White Ferns have now beaten their neighbours in three of their last four Twenty20 fixtures and have an overall lead of 14-13. No mean feat considering Australia has been crowned the World Champions at the last three events.
Beating them at a world event is promising, just ideally it will be in the Final next time. Still, beating Australia is beating Australia – and that’s always nice.
4.Suzie Bates leadership
Coming off a stellar year last year where she was named the ICC ODI Women’s Player of the Year and won Player of the Tournament at the ODI World Cup, Suzie Bate had set herself a pretty high standard to maintain – but the Skipper continues to lead from the front.
As consistent as ever, Bates was a force with the bat throughout the summer. The 26-year-old averaged 58 in the West Indies ODI series with a top score of 95 not out, while also dominating in the Twenty20 series with an average of 39.50. She then capped that off with a tournament high average of 57 at the ICC World Twenty20 and scored the second most aggregate runs with 228 from five innings (behind Australia’s Meg Lanning).
She does need to work on her calling at the toss though, winning just once from eight matches – we’ll let that slide though.
Bates continues to improve and is on course to go down as one of the greatest cricketers New Zealand has seen.
5.Finishing the season 11-1
Throughout the summer the White Ferns lost just one match, their best effort in a number of years.
The loss to South Africa was obviously crucial, but they can consider themselves mighty unlucky to have been eliminated from that sole blemish and should take pride in their performances this summer. Series sweeps and victories over Australia shouldn’t be taken for granted.
There are plenty of other highlights as well, from the successful comeback of Sara McGlashan, to the rise of Morna Nielsen who is now ranked the third best Twenty20 bowler in the world.
Overall, the White Ferns have had a breakout season and the girls can hold their heads high – it’s been a joy to watch.