We catch up with White Ferns captain Aimee Watkins before the ICC World Twenty20 Final against England.
Is there anybody in the men’s game that you’ve modeled yourself on?
“I haven’t really looked at anyone in the men’s game and thought ‘Gee I want to bat like them’. That’s just how I’ve always played, and I think the Twenty20 game suits my style. I’m not the sort of person that’s going to bat for 50 overs, and batting at number three gives me more opportunity to face more balls, get more overs and get more runs.”
You lost the 50-over final to England – do you see this final as the chance to get revenge?
“Not really – it’s not anything we’ve talked about. Obviously 50-overs is different to the 20-over game, and the way we’re going we’ve got some good momentum going into tomorrow. If we just focus on ourselves and what we have to do then regardless of who we’re playing I think we’re to put out a good performance.”
Are you looking forward to playing at Lord’s?
“Yes, none of the girls have played at Lord’s before. After training we’ll have a walk through and have a look at our changing rooms and where we’re going to be, and have a look around the ground, that’s going to be pretty awe-inspiring in itself – let alone playing here. After the game tomorrow, once we’ve finished, and we can just sit up there and think, wow we’ve just played at Lord’s, that’s when it will really sink in.”
There’s been a lot of talk about England’s dodgy middle order – do you see that as a weakness you can exploit?
“I wouldn’t call it a dodgy middle order. I just think that because their top order has been going so well for them over the last 18 months, their middle order hasn’t had a chance to bat. So I think if we can expose that middle order then we might be able to put some pressure on them.”
If you bat first, what do you think would be a safe score?
“If we get 140 or 150 I think that’s a score we’d be pretty happy with and we’d back ourselves to defend that.”
Is that because your bowling is better than Australia’s against England yesterday?
“I just think our execution in this tournament has been a lot better than the other teams we’ve played against – we’ve bowled tighter lines, better yorkers towards the end of the innings, and I think we’ve put more pressure on batsmen that way.”
Heading into the final unbeaten must give you a massive confidence boost.
“Yes - we’ve got good confidence at the moment and everyone’s fully aware of what we have to do individually and collectively to put a good performance out. We’re just really looking forward to tomorrow and we can’t wait to get out there.”
It’s been a comfortable run to the final – do you think the team is peaking at the right time?
“It has been comfortable – we haven’t really been tested in any of our matches. I don’t know whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing – we’re all feeling pretty good about our batting and our bowling. I think we’re still on the way up so hopefully tomorrow we hit that high and really peak when we need to.”
Are you nervous?
“In general we’re a pretty relaxed team and we just try to get on with what we have to do and not worry too much about what’s going on around us.”
What advice have you given the girls ahead of the final?
“The key things from me throughout the tournament have been about having clear heads, and just worrying about what we have to do. And if we just play each ball, one ball at a time, I know we’re going to be successful tomorrow. The good thing is that the two best teams are in the final and it’s going to be the team that performs best that’s going to win. It sounds simple – it’s just a matter of executing it.”