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Might have been better to set a total, reflects Bates

New Zealand Women skipper credits West Indies Women for good game-plan and being better on the day

31 March 2016 21:14

Less than 24 hours earlier, New Zealand Women and West Indies Women had watched England Women stutter and fall five runs short of Australia Women's 132 at the Ferozeshah Kotla in Delhi, in the first semifinal of the Women’s World Twenty20 2016. On winning the toss at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Thursday (March 31), Suzie Bates, New Zealand’s captain, chose to bowl first, perhaps ignoring the effect that scoreboard pressure has had in so many of the women’s matches.

“In hindsight, on that type of wicket, it might have been better to set a total,” she said after the six-run loss that ended their tournament after four straight wins to get to the final four. “But if we’d kept them to 130, we would have chased down that score. I just think there were a couple of overs where [Britney] Cooper took it to us and we didn’t bowl as well as we could have.

“I was still confident bowling first with the line-up we had. We just lost wickets at the top that put pressure on our lower order. All tournament, our top order has done the job. If one of our top five had batted through to the 20th [over], I’d have backed us to get that score.”

Cooper, who came into this match with just 11 runs to her name in three previous outings, turned out to be West Indies’ wild card with her 48-ball 61. “It probably hasn’t sunk in just yet,” said Bates. “The girls will be pretty disappointed in the changing room. I don’t think we played poorly today. I just think West Indies came out with good plans.

“Putting Cooper up the order, we hadn’t perhaps scouted for her much because she hadn’t batted much through the tournament. That came off for them. I’m really proud of how we’ve played our cricket throughout this tournament. Today wasn’t a bad day at the office. They were just better than us.”

Morna Nielsen, who bowled her four overs on the trot for just 14, and Sophie Devine, who prevented a late surge with 4 for 22, were outstanding with the ball, but the two spinners – Leigh Kasperek, with her offspin, and Erin Bermingham, with her leg-breaks – who had been instrumental in New Zealand topping their group, came in for harsh treatment, especially from Cooper.

“It’s probably worked against us, how consistent we’ve been with our line-up,” said a rueful Bates. “We’ve been able to pick the same team and stick to our plans, and they could probably look at that and realise that Bermingham and Kasperek were there to target, and they took that risk. It worked for them. On a different day, we might have got wickets early, had them out for under 130, and chased it down.”

Stafanie Taylor, West Indies’ captain, who added 60 for the second wicket with Cooper, said that there was no premeditation involved in taking on the two spinners who had had economy rates of 3.9 and 4.5 before the semifinal. “It wasn’t really our game plan,” she said of the six overs that fetched West Indies a whopping 54 runs. “Maybe it was Britney’s game plan. We had a look at the footage to see how they were bowling. It was not time to play their game. It was time to play our game. The way we played them was fantastic. We knew we had to put up a big total to push New Zealand back, and I think 143 was pretty decent.”

The assault on her key duo left Bates with little room to manoeuvre. “They did take to Kasperek, and that was probably a plan because she’s been so successful for us,” said Bates. “It was a balancing act because they were getting after our legspinner and offspinner. I thought Sophie Devine bowled outstandingly, took the pace off. We’ll look back at how we could have done things differently, but right now it’s sinking in that we perhaps didn’t play our best game today.”