Can the White Ferns challenge the top nations to make their mark at the women’s T20 Cricket World Cup being played in South Africa?
New Zealand reached the final of the first two tournaments in 2009 and 2010 but have failed to make the knock-out stage of the last two tournaments, losing to India and Australia in pool play at both tournaments.
Thirteen of the 15 White Ferns players have one-day or T20 World Cup experience while Otago off-spinner Eden Carson and Auckland seamer Molly Penfold have been named for their first official ICC World Cups.
Wellington batter Georgia Plimmer and Auckland left-arm spinner Fran Jonas played the Under-19 World Cup in South Africa in January.
White Ferns squad: Sophie Devine (capt), Suzie Bates, Bernadine Bezuidenhout, Eden Carson, Lauren Down, Maddy Green, Brooke Halliday, Hayley Jensen, Fran Jonas, Melie Kerr, Jess Kerr, Molly Penfold, Georgia Plimmer, Hannah Rowe, Lea Tahuhu.
Suzie Bates is New Zealand’s most experienced player with 139 T20 internationals, while Sophie Devine has played 115.
Maddy Green has played 74, Lea Tahuhu 71, Amelia Kerr 55 and Hayley Jensen 51.
Bates has scored the most runs in the T20 game globally with 3683.
Devine is fourth with 2950 career runs and fifth on the all-time list of wickets with 110.
White Ferns World Cup schedule
Feb 12 – 6am – NZ v Australia – Paarl
Feb 14 – 6am – NZ v South Africa – Paarl
Feb 18 – 2am – NZ v Bangladesh – Cape Town
Feb 20 – 6am – NZ v Sri Lanka – Paarl
Groups (world rankings)
(1) Australia, (9) Bangladesh, (3) New Zealand, (5) South Africa, (8) Sri Lanka
(2) England, (4) India, (10) Ireland, (7) Pakistan, (6) West Indies
2009 England win, New Zealand runners-up
2010 Australia win, New Zealand runners-up
2012 Australia win, New Zealand semi-finalist
2014 Australia win, New Zealand round 1
2016 West Indies win, New Zealand semi-finals
2018 Australia win, New Zealand round 1
2020 Australia win, New Zealand round 1
Players to watch
Ashleigh Gardner, Australia.
1031 runs at an average of 26.43, 42 wickets at an average of 20.83
All-rounder Ashleigh Gardner was a part of 2022 ODI World Cup winning team.
She reached the summit of the ICC Women’s Rankings for T20I All-rounders for the first time in December 2022 after 115 runs and seven wickets in Australia’s series against India.
Nigar Sultana, Bangladesh
1225 runs at 24.50, 18 catches, 27 stumpings
Last year, Nigar Sultana led her side to a first appearance at an ODI World Cup.
The wicketkeeper was Bangladesh’s leading run-scorer in 2022 across both white-ball formats, leading the way in their series against the White Ferns in December.
Nat Sciver, England
1959 runs at 25.11, 78 wickets at 20.94
England all-rounder Nat Sciver had a remarkable 2022 on and off the pitch. Sciver twice scored centuries in losing causes against Australia at the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup, married teammate Katherine Brunt and took a three-month break from the game for her mental health.
Renuka Singh, India
23 wickets at 25.08, best of four for 10
Renuka Singh made her debut for India at the end of 2021 but announced herself on the world stage at the Commonwealth Games last year, taking 11 wickets including four for 18 in their opener against Australia.
Gaby Lewis, Ireland
1441 runs at 26.20 with a best of 105 not out
Ireland are returning to the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup for the first time since 2018.
Lewis made her international debut aged only 13 and has since crunched 1441 runs, including 144 in Ireland’s three-match series against Pakistan in November 2022.
Eden Carson, New Zealand
11 wickets at 11.81, with a best of two for 12
Eden Carson’s debut tournament ended with a shiny bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games and she will be hoping for something similar as New Zealand search for a first T20 title.
In only eight matches, the off-spinner has faced three of the White Ferns’ group stages opponents, including taking three wickets in two matches against Bangladesh, but she will face the biggest test of her credentials so far when they take on holders and rivals Australia in their opening game.
Jess Kerr, New Zealand
12 wickets 24.16, with a best of two for 13
Jess Kerr occasionally lived in younger sister Amelia’s shadow during their early careers but has now carved out a place in the New Zealand side as an opening bowler.
Kerr missed the Commonwealth Games with an injury but has made up for it by gaining experience in international T20 leagues, playing alongside her sister at Brisbane Heat and London Spirit with both also representing Wellington in New Zealand – as both their mother and father had done before them.
Nida Dar, Pakistan
1603 runs at 18.42, 118 wickets at 18.18
All-rounder Nida Dar won the ICC Player of the Month award in October after producing 145 runs at an average of 72.50 as well as eight wickets during Pakistan’s Asia Cup campaign.
Across 124 T20I matches for Pakistan, Nida has been dependable with bat and ball, taking 118 wickets – second behind the West Indies’ Anisa Mohammad in the all-time rankings – and contributing seven fifties.
Nonkululeko Mlaba, South Africa
16 wickets at 26.81 with a best of three for 22
Part of the new guard of South African stars, Nonkululeko Mlaba had a slow start to life on the international stage but has put in performances when needed in the lead-up to a home World Cup.
The slow left-armer has played only one T20I at home so far and shone in their tour of England, taking three for 22 as one of only two Proteas bowlers to go at under six an over.
Harshitha Samarawickrama, Sri Lanka
508 runs at 18.81 with a high of 81
Harshitha Samarawickrama was Sri Lanka’s highest run-scorer at the Asia Cup, behind only Jemimah Rodrigues of India in the tournament as a whole.
Samarawickrama made the highest score of the competition with 81 off 69 balls against Thailand helping her total career run tally to 508 runs from 33 matches.
Hayley Matthews, West Indies
1326 runs at 18.41, 72 wickets at 17.33
Captain extraordinaire Hayley Matthews will lead West Indies in a World Cup for the first time having delivered for her side on several occasions – most notably in the 2016 final.
The all-rounder was the Windies’ top-scorer in the showpiece with 66 runs from 45 balls, also taking one for 13, and now leads the Caribbean side through a transitional period.
– Compiled with the help of the ICC.
Story Credit: rnz.co.nz