The New Zealand White Ferns are now over halfway through their time in Sri Lanka, with preparations for the ICC Women’s Twenty20 World Cup going well.
It’s been eight days of tough conditions for the Ferns so far, who have had to compete with 40 degree heat, volatile pitches and tussocks in the outfield.
Everything seems to be going according to plan though, with the team successfully adapting to the testing conditions after a hectic schedule of trainings and matches.
New Zealand have played three games so far, all of which have been hard fought. However the main focus has been about getting everyone as prepared as possible for the real thing come September.
The first of the matches was against the Australian Women’s team who are also in Sri Lanka at the moment. While New Zealand finished 25 runs short of Australia’s 155, there were a number of positives to come from the match.
Captain Suzie Bates got her eye in early and made an unbeaten 52 before retiring to give others some time in the middle. Frances Mackay too was in top form with an unbeaten 29.
The day after the Ferns played two more matches. Firstly they faced the Sri Lanka Women’s team, before taking on a classy Sri Lanka Boys XI.
Some great bowling from Mackay (three for 15) and Kate Broadmore (two for 20) gave them an 11 run win over Sri Lanka, followed by a 25 run loss to the Boys XI.
They were all solid performances by New Zealand, with Coach Gary Stead describing the time in Colombo as a real boost for the team’s preparation.
“Getting use to the wickets and conditions that are so different to what we are used to has been great,” said Stead.
“We have two matches left - against a Boys XI again tomorrow and then a final game against Australia before heading home.
“The experience has been invaluable as in the lead up to the Twenty20 World Cup.”
Those encouraging words from the coach match the positive signs shown from the White Ferns. They have undoubtedly made massive strides since the summer already.
With the knowledge of what to expect in Sri Lanka and confidence growing amongst the group, expectations for this team at the World Cup are steadily growing.