Kia ora and welcome to live updates of the White Ferns’ opening match at the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa against old foes Australia.
Chasing their third straight T20 title, the Australians enter the contest as firm favourites, winning five of their last seven games against the Kiwis in the game’s shortest format.
But armed with some insider information from new coach Ben Sawyer and emboldened by their closely fought defeat the last time they met at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, the White Ferns are confident they have the talent to tip up their rivals.
We’ll have all of the action from the opening ball at 6am Sunday.
New Zealand: Sophie Devine (c), Suzie Bates, Bernadine Bezuidenhout, Eden Carson, Lauren Down, Maddy Green, Brooke Halliday, Hayley Jensen, Fran Jonas, Amelia Kerr, Lea Tahuhu, Jess Kerr, Molly Penfold, Georgia Plimmer, Hannah Rowe
Australia: Meg Lanning (c), Alyssa Healy (vc), Ashleigh Gardner, Kim Garth, Darcie Brown, Heather Graham, Jess Jonassen, Grace Harris, Alana King, Tahlia McGrath, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Beth Mooney, Annabel Sutherland, Georgia Wareham
TAB Odds: New Zealand $4.35 Australia $1.20
White Ferns skipper Devine eases broken foot fears for T20 World Cup
By Alex Powell
White Ferns captain Sophie Devine has eased any concerns over her fitness for the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa, completing her side’s second warm-up match without issue.
Devine, 33, travelled to South Africa under an injury cloud, with a broken foot suffered while playing for Wellington Blaze over the New Zealand summer.
But the Kiwi skipper has timed her recovery to perfection and contested the White Ferns’ second warm-up match against England before the start of the T20 World Cup on Sunday.
Even in a five-wicket defeat, Devine appeared unhindered by the injury, scoring 14 from 15 balls with the bat.
“It’s certainly been a long time coming,” Devine said. “It has been a bit of a process to make sure I can get to this point.
“It’s just nice to get out on the field with the girls. It was brief, but certainly good to just get back into things.
“I feel great. It probably shows all the work that’s gone in behind the scenes with all the staff to make sure I can get through.
“There were really pleasing signs heading into the first game.”
Even though the final preparation ended in defeat, the NZ women are content with their preparations. The team have been in South Africa since last month to acclimatise to conditions and have now played five warm-up games.
Aside from Thursday’s (NZ time) defeat, the White Ferns have also played an unofficial three game series against England, as well as completing a valuable win over the West Indies on Tuesday.
With the addition of former South Africa fast bowler Morne Morkel assisting their build-up, New Zealand have left no stone unturned in their bid to win a first global tournament since their one-day World Cup triumph in 2000.
“I don’t think we could ask for too much more in terms of preparation,” Devine added. “We’ve been over here for close to two weeks now, coming off the back of our own domestic season.
“The team’s ready to go, they’re really excited. World Cups are big events and everyone’s really excited.
“I think we’re pretty clear around that starting XI and what that’s going to look like, but also how we need to play to make sure we’re going to win consistently in this tournament.”
After Sunday’s opener against Australia, the White Ferns also face hosts South Africa on February 13, Bangladesh on February 17 and Sri Lanka on February 19 to complete poolplay.
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