New Zealand Women v South Africa Women World T20 preview – Match 17
Bates and her spinners have proved a handful all through the tournament, but they will be wary of the side that knocked them out last time
25 March 2016 17:54
Sune Luus, the legspinner, and Shabnim Ismail, the fast bowler, have been South Africa’s standouts with the ball.
In fact, it is not just Devine, but the entire New Zealand team that will have warm memories of its last visit to the city. While Devine's 22-ball 70 headlined New Zealand Women’s demolition of the home side in the first T20I, Suzie Bates, Rachel Priest and the rest of the squad contributed enough to help secure a 2-1 series victory.
It is no wonder then that the ball was flying off the bats in the practice session ahead of the side's final Group A match in the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 against South Africa Women in Bangalore on Saturday (March 26). Devine and Bates, batting alongside each other, sent the ball sailing into the stands on a fair few occasions while Priest and Sara McGlashan weren’t far behind.
If one were to think that New Zealand’s intensity in its practice session would slack having won all of its previous group matches, one needed only to watch Katie Perkins. The 27-year-old was standing on the boundary while her teammates batted in the nets, diving and sliding to stop the ball from passing her. She pulled off a couple of blinders and her energy and enthusiasm rubbed off on the net bowlers who soon joined in on the fun.
New Zealand come into the final group match on the back of three convincing victories over Sri Lanka Women, Ireland Women and Australia Women. Bates has led from the front with the bat, and currently sits at the top of the run-getters list with 142 runs in three matches. The New Zealand captain has combined with Priest at the top of the order to form one of the most feared opening pairs in world cricket. With the likes of Devine, McGlashan and Amy Satterthwaite lower down the order, it has more than enough firepower to terrorise any bowling attack.
Its batting aside, it is with the ball that New Zealand has created ripples in the tournament. The spin trio of Leigh Kasperek, Morna Nielsen and Erin Bermingham have picked up 11 wickets in 32 overs at a miserly economy rate of 3.65, meaning Lea Tahuhu, one of the fastest bowlers in the world, has not been used much.
South Africa too will have fond memories of Bangalore. Since its One-Day International series win against India in November 2014, the Mignon du Preez-led side has grown in stature. It has come into the World T20 on the back of some encouraging results having taken England Women the full distance in a T20I series at home despite losing 2-1, before beating West Indies Women 2-1 in the T20I series that followed.
The team was more quiet and businesslike in its preparation on the eve of the match; du Preez and Marizanne Kapp having an extended session in the nets to fine-tune their skills. The duo, an important part of South Africa’s middle order, have been short of runs and will certainly be looking to turn things around against a strong opposition.
In Dane van Niekerk and Trisha Chetty the side has found a steady opening pair. They have shared partnerships of 72 and 41 against Australia Women and Ireland Women respectively, solving South Africa’s problem at the top of the order.
The team showed that it has the ability to score quickly in its match against Ireland, and if their practice session is anything to go by, there is certainly no lack of power.
Sune Luus, the legspinner, and Shabnim Ismail, the fast bowler, have been South Africa’s standouts with the ball. Ismail’s pace and skiddy nature has taken teams by surprise, while Luus’s flight, dip and turn have outfoxed the batters more often than not.
With one foot already in the semifinals, New Zealand enters the contest as the favourite, but it will be aware that South Africa poses a tough challenge. After all, the last time the teams faced off, South Africa got the better of New Zealand and duly knocked them out of the 2014 World T20 in Bangladesh.
New Zealand: Suzie Bates (capt), Sophie Devine, Erin Bermingham, Leigh Kasperek, Felicity Leydon-Davis, Sara McGlashan, Katey Martin, Thamsyn Newton, Morna Nielsen, Katie Perkins, Anna Peterson, Rachel Priest (wk), Hannah Rowe, Amy Satterthwaite, Lea Tahuhu
South Africa: Mignon du Preez (capt), Trisha Chetty (wk), Moseline Daniels, Dinesha Devnarain, Odine Kirsten, Yolani Fourie, Chloe Tryon, Shabnim Ismail, Marizanne Kapp, Masabata Klaas, Ayabonga Khaka, Lizelle Lee, Marcia Letsoalo, Sune Luus, Dane van Niekerk.