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High-flying White Ferns face winless Pakistan today

High-flying White Ferns face winless Pakistan today

TAUNTON: A big win over the West Indies pushed New Zealand back into the top four after four games at the ICC Women’s World Cup but skipper Suzie Bates knows that every game is crucial ahead of Saturday’s clash with the winless Pakistan side in Taunton.

The White Ferns responded to the defeat against Australia in the best possible fashion here on Thursday, hammering the West Indies by eight wickets and chasing down a target of 151 in less than 20 overs.

That was enough to leapfrog South Africa on the points table, and with the game between the sides having been washed out earlier in the tournament, their battle for a place in the last four could come down to net run-rate.

While New Zealand cannot focus solely on run-rate, Bates admits it could yet be crucial to her side’s chances of progression.

“This whole tournament we’ve understood that every game was going to be a big match, and having the rain-affected match has made that even more important,” she said. “Every game is almost a knockout game so we have to bring our A game and play as well as we can against any opposition.

“When the run-rate comes into play too, you can’t take anyone lightly. We’ll have a rest day but it’s exciting because we felt that we hadn’t played cricket for a while, we had a week off but now we’ll go out and play so it will be nice to get into a rhythm.”

New Zealand will return to Taunton two days after the big win over the West Indies, and face a Pakistan team still in search of their first victory in the tournament.

Although not mathematically eliminated, Pakistan’s chances of progressing are slim but captain Sana Mir feels the team has learned a lot so far, and needs to build on that experience.

“We may not have had the best tournament so far but we need to enjoy it, we only qualified for the tournament a few months ago so just being here is an achievement in itself and I think we are better than we have shown so far,” the beleaguered Pakistan skipper said. “What’s very important is that we are able to bat out the 50 overs like we did against Australia. We need the young girls who are playing in the future to get an opportunity to face the best bowlers in the world. This is a learning curve for the newcomers.

“I think we have started very well with the ball against all the big teams so we’re not afraid of them [New Zealand].

“I think with the kind of attitude and consistency we’re showing with our bowling, particularly early on, we can hurt New Zealand.”

NEW ZEALAND: Suzie Bates (captain), Erin Bermingham, Sophie Devine, Maddie Green, Holly Huddleston, Leigh Kasperek, Amelia Kerr, Katey Martin, Thamsyn Newton, Katie Perkins, Anna Peterson, Rachel Priest, Hannah Rowe, Amy Satterthwaite, Lea Tahuhu.

PAKISTAN: Sana Mir (captain), Asmavia Iqbal, Ayesha Zafar, Diana Baig, Ghulam Fatima, Iram Javed, Javeria Khan, Kainat Imtiaz, Marina Iqbal, Bibi Nahida, Nain Abidi, Nashra Sandhu, Sadia Yousuf, Sidra Nawaz, Waheeda Akhtar.

Umpires: Gregory Brathwaite (West Indies) and Sharfuddoula Saikat (Bangladesh).

Match referee: Richie Richardson (West Indies).

Published in Dawn, July 8th, 2017

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