Tougher tests await SA, New Zealand

Times Media


TELFORD VICE in London

NEW Zealand, South Africa won’t need reminding, are the only team besides England and Australia to have won the women’s World Cup.

South Africa, New Zealand won’t need reminding, made their highest total in the tournament’s history to beat Pakistan in Leicester on Sunday.

All of which will be in the mix in Derby on Wednesday, when South Africa take on New Zealand.

Dane van Niekerk’s team overcame three runouts to get past Pakistan’s 206/8 with three wickets standing.

“Seeing the lower order perform against Pakistan, we haven’t really done that in a while but we’ve spoken about it a lot,” Van Niekerk told reporters in Derby.

“It gives the batting line-up a lot of confidence knowing that we have got capable batsmen at the bottom to finish games.

“Hopefully we don’t have to use them too often but it’s good [for] momentum.”

Or, as she might have said, a win is a win. But the South Africans were 113 without loss before seven wickets crashed for 64 runs to make the contest too close for comfort.

New Zealand, the champions in 2000, had no such drama in their tournament opener against Sri Lanka, winning by nine wickets with 12.2 overs to spare.

But the Lankans are the weakest team in the field, so South Africa should present the Kiwis with a stiffer test on Wednesday.

And there’s a chance New Zealand will be distracted by the fuss over their captain, Suzie Bates, bringing up a century of one-day internationals.

“I never thought I’d play this long,” Bates told reporters. “I was at university and cricket was bit of a hobby.

“I really didn’t see it going professional. So to still be playing at 29, and be able to play in my 100th game, is exciting.

“When I first started and got really serious about trying to be as serious as I can be, and when I started leading the team, I probably didn’t have a lot of things outside of cricket.

“When it didn’t go well, it was terrible. When it did, you were on top of the world.”

Women’s cricket, Bates said, had come a long way.

“It’s unrecognisable from when I started. It was hobby for everyone.

“Many were studying, some were at school.

“People got away from their day jobs for tours and live a dream.”

Time to wake up — the dream is real.

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