After losing opening encounter, two-time finalist will bank on its experience and class to get past South Africa
New Zealand, who started its campaign against West Indies in disappointing fashion, faces South Africa in a must-win Group B clash at the ICC Women's World Twenty20 in Galle on Friday (September 28).
More than the defeat, the manner in which New Zealand went down will be its main concern. New Zealand, finalists at both previous editions of the World T20, will have its task cut out against South Africa, high on confidence following its win over Sri Lanka on Wednesday (September 26).
Topmost on its agenda will be sorting out the batting, which had an off day against the West Indies.
Despite the top three batters getting starts, no one was able to bat for long, a fact that Suzie Bates, the captain, felt will be the key going forward. "I think one of us will have to take the responsibility of batting through the innings," said Bates.
Bates herself started in explosive fashion, but once the openers were dismissed, the middle-order was undone by the slow bowlers.
However, given its clash against South Africa on Friday is the first match of the day, things could be slightly different. While the captains winning the toss have elected to bowl first, there is expected to be a hint of assistance to the seamers early on. Despite that, as England proved on Thursday, there were no demons in the pitch and quality batters can still make runs.
New Zealand will need the middle order consisting of Sara McGlashan, Frances Mackay and Nicola Browne to get amongst the runs quickly, as they can ill-afford another slip up.
While the batting, which has been its main strength, hopes to come good, the bowling too will need a massive overhaul. "You do expect to defend 118, especially after getting two early wickets," said Bates. The bowling looked very ordinary, and even the spinners went for 81 off 12 overs after picking up two early wickets.
South Africa on the other hand, will know very well that a win against New Zealand could not only knock the two time finalists out, but also give it a very good chance of making it through to the semi-final for the first time. A comfortable win against Sri Lanka on Wednesday means its Net Run Rate has also received a boost.
Mignon du Preez, the captain, was very relaxed ahead of the important clash. "We have nothing to lose," said du Preez. "We are looking to just enjoy the moment. New Zealand will have to do all the running, and we'll give them a good fight."
Once again, Trisha Chetty and Shandre Fritz, the explosive opening pair, will hope to give the team a good start. Given that the middle-order hasn't really spent a lot of time in the middle, both in the warm-up game as well as the tournament opener, it will face a challenge in adjusting quickly to the conditions.
Despite the shaky start, New Zealand will start favourites given its vast experience and quality, but South Africa can't be taken lightly either.