The White Ferns are on the brink of an early exit from the Twenty20 World Cup, but vow to go down swinging in hopes of reaching an unlikely semi-final spot.
After back-to-back heavy defeats to reigning champion Australia and hosts South Africa, New Zealand responded with a much-needed win against Bangladesh.
The 71-run triumph at Paarl significantly boosted their runrate, which will be vital to advancing to the knockout stages.
With Australia having already qualified as the top seed from Group One, the race for second is on, with New Zealand, South Africa, and Sri Lanka all still vying for the spot.
But the White Ferns’ inferior runrate means they need to comprehensively dispatch Sri Lanka in their final match and hope Bangladesh stun South Africa if they are any chance.
Despite the odds stacked against them, White Fern Maddy Green revealed spirit is high in the team, and they won’t be changing their approach.
“Absolutely, we know there’s only one way to play and that’s attacking and we’ve got to try and boost our run rate as quickly as possible,” she said.
“We spoke about just trying to score as many runs and put as many on the board as we can and play a style of cricket that reflects that.
“The wicket yesterday was fantastic from a batting point of view, so that really helped us in that regard and we know against Sri Lanka we’ve got to try and put on a similar performance if we’ve got any sort of chance of making those semi-finals.
“The rest of it is out of our control but we’re trying to play that style of cricket that gives us a chance and the girls certainly believe that we are still a chance in this tournament.”
Standing between the White Ferns and a semi-final berth are the surprise package of the T20 World Cup – Sri Lanka.
After a shock win over South Africa in their opening match, they are in the box seat to advance to the semi-finals, as they hold a two-point advantage over the hosts and New Zealand.
But while most didn’t fancy their chances of progressing past the group, their form has come as little surprise to Green as the two teams prepare to play on Monday.
“I don’t think they’ve surprised me too much, they’re a side that’s got some great players,” she said.
“Obviously, their captain Chamari Athapaththu has been a really good player for a long period of time and her ability to have an impact on the game goes up the shorter the format is – particularly T20 cricket.
“She hits the ball really hard, and her performance against South Africa in their first pool game, she was absolutely fantastic and she’s a key wicket for us tomorrow.
“They’ve got some really good bowlers in their side, who bowl with a lot of accuracy and make it difficult to score, so for us, it’s about how we counteract that and put pressure back on their bowlers.
“We’ve got to make sure we take wickets early with the ball and put some pressure on their middle order.
“They’re an improving side, we’ve seen that in the last couple of T20 tournaments, and obviously in Australia as well, I thought they played really well.
“No surprises they’re going to be a tough side to beat, but we know we have a play an attacking brand of cricket and give ourselves the best chance to go forward in this tournament.”
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