And we’re back… but this time it is the real deal - the Twenty20 World Cup in Sri Lanka! After our awesome 10 day camp in Colombo at the start of August we are now back together as a team, better prepared and ready for the challenges that playing in this country will bring.
During our first three days here were back in Colombo we have been pretty busy. A shot list of what we have done so far; knocked out a couple of trainings, played a warm up game v India, had our official headshots taken, watched Suzie Bates (Batesy) complete a few captaincy media duties, soaked up some of the T20 World Cup vibe thanks to the men’s tournament going on, and importantly got our bodies back into the Sri Lankan groove!
After our World Cup headshots some of us took up the challenge of the ‘reaction test’, set up as a bit of a fun experiment with all the teams. The test involved reacting to lights on a square web-like structure when they lit up by hitting them so that another light would come on. We had 30 seconds to hit as many as possible. We were told the best female score was 41, and Brendon McCullum had the best male score of 37. The challenge was set! Batesy led from the front with an impressive 37 first time up. I was pumped, knowing that I had been doing some reaction training with my flatmate back home, this would be a good test! Well… bit of a fail. I scored a lowly 32. Not happy with that effort I stayed behind to give it a couple more goes. 42 was my best effort, but it was Amy Satterthwaite (Branch) with a score of 43 helped the White Ferns claim their first world title in Sri Lanka before a ball had even been bowled!
Our warm up game v India went really well. A win under the belt and all the girls got a good opportunity with bat and/or ball. The team took a great amount of confidence from the performance and had us even more pumped about our opening match against the West Indies.
That night after the game I tagged along with the England and Indian women’s teams to watch their two men’s sides do battle at Premadasa Stadium. A few of our girls had already gone to a game the night before, and no one seemed too interested this time, so off I went as the lone Kiwi. All goods though… this worked well in my favour in terms of being able to go and explore the stadium a bit! With security so tight around the England girls they seemed to forget about me, so I just walked out of our hospitality box and went and got amongst the crazy crowds in the stands! The game wasn’t a sell out, but there were still plenty of people hustling and bustling everywhere. I got up on the top level of the stand and met some real cool volunteers. We chatted for a while before I decided to continue my exploring. I got stared at a fair bit, but that may have had something to do with the fact I looked like a light bulb amongst the fans around me! If security had really wanted to find me it wouldn’t have been too hard!
After our few days in Colombo we travelled south to Galle which is on the south-west corner of the country. Galle and the surrounding coastline was devastated by the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami. It wiped out the Galle cricket stadium, but it has been rebuilt thanks to the support of Muttiah Muralitharan and Shane Warne, and is where we are playing all our Pool games at the World Cup.
Our accommodation is right on the beachfront and is pretty spectacular. The ocean is quite brutal and the sound of crashing waves is a constant backdrop to all the other noises around us. When we first got to our ‘twin’ rooms we all got a bit of a surprise when we saw how the beds were set up. I wondered if they thought we had asked for ‘conjoined-twin’ rooms! With two single mattresses sitting on top of the one queen sized base, this was a little too close together for us Kiwi girls. My solution was to go Marae styles and chucked my mattress on the floor while Morna Nielsen (Morn) used her engineering skills to practically build another base in her room. Unfortunately for both of us our solutions were pooh-poohed by Hotel staff who went and found spare single bases for us to use.
After a couple of nights in Galle we finally got to game day! First match up for us was against the powerful and athletic West Indian team. We had done our homework and had our plans in place, but it was one of those days that failure you execute and be patient with our plans cost us the game. I was 12th Man which left me feeling a little useless when I could see my team was under the pump at times. It is hard seeing your team mates trying so hard to get a breakthrough or find some momentum and there is little you can do to help them. Deandra Dottin played an outstanding innings to take the game away from us. We had our chances, but in all areas the West Indies just played that bit better than us today.
Anyways, dinner time for me. Buffet… yeah buddy! For those of you who know how I eat I know you are excited for me right now!
Thanks for taking the time to read this and get a little insight to what the team has been up to. We all really appreciate the support of our family, friends and fans. It lifts us knowing that there are people backing us all the way!
I hope things are all going well in your part of the world!
Ka kite ano,
Ps. For more inside info on how the team is getting on, follow the girls on Twitter:
Suzie Bates @SuzieWBates
Katie Perkins @KT_Perky
Sara McGlashan @sjmac7
Morna Neilsen @Mornface
Katey Martin @kmarty01
Kate Broadmore @KateBroadmore
Lucy Doolan @Lucy_doolan
Sian Ruck @rucky42
The team @WHITE_FERNS