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Bates, Tiffen draw inspiration from Black Caps

Stafanie Taylor says West Indies Women has also been spurred on by U-19 boys' triumph and encouragement from the men's team

30 March 2016 17:58

Bates, Tiffen draw inspiration from Black Caps - Cricket News

BANGALORE, INDIA - MARCH 26: Captain Suzie Bates of New Zealand celebrates the wicket of Trisha Chetty of South Africa during Women's ICC World Twenty20 India 2016 match between South Africa and New Zealand at the Chinnaswamy stadium on March 26, 2016 in Bangalore, India. (Photo by Pal Pillai/IDI via Getty Images)

Just over a year ago, the New Zealand men’s cricket team captivated a nation by going undefeated to the final of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. It wasn’t just the results that won it millions of admirers across the world, but the style of play. Brendon McCullum’s swashbuckling strokeplay set the tone, and the Black Caps bowled with control and aggression as it swept aside whoever it came across.

Suzie Bates and the White Ferns have won nine of its last ten Twenty20 matches heading into the semi-final of the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 2016 against West Indies at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Thursday (March 31). In racking up four straight wins in the group stage of the competition, New Zealand has batted with flair and bowled with considerable skill and guile.

“As the coach, it's the brand of cricket we want to play,” said Haidee Tiffen, who played her last match for New Zealand a few months before the inaugural Women’s World Twenty20 in 2009. “Like the men – an attractive, aggressive style. We've got players who can do that, whether with bat, ball or on the field. It's about not only doing the basics well, but also expressing ourselves and allowing the girls to be free.

“As Kiwis, we're a sporty nation, we get inspired by being out and playing any sport, to be honest. We're here to do a job and I really want the girls to express themselves. For some players, it's not about hitting over the top. It's more about finesse and accessing areas of the ground in their style.”

Bates, one of only four women to score more than 2,000 T20I runs, spoke of the McCullum influence. “Brendon is from Otago, and I'm from Otago, so he's always been, over the years, willing to talk about cricket and his leadership style,” she said. “A number of girls, during the NZ cricket awards, spoke to him briefly, and the way he went about his cricket at the end of his career and during the World Cup campaign was an inspiration. We had drawn a little bit of inspiration from the way he got the guys to go out there and express themselves, and we're trying to do that in this tournament.”

Stafanie Taylor, the West Indies captain who has nine more runs in T20Is than Bates, also spoke of motivation derived from other cricketers in the Caribbean. “We have been talking about how the Under-19s [boys] won the tournament [in February 2016],” she said. “It has been an inspiration for us. We know we’ve come close in the past. There is more drive to go out there and do the job. To see that both men and women are actually there in the semifinal and playing at the same ground, that is fantastic. We definitely want to go out there and just do our best.”

Taylor spoke of the tremendous support from back home – “I think on Facebook and Twitter, it is blown up” – and of the encouragement from the men’s team. “Chris Gayle is hard to find,” she said with a grin as the assembled journalists broke into laughter. “I think more likely, it will be Darren Sammy. He loves to talk. He goes on and on. He is a fantastic guy and we love to interact with him. He is always positive.”

Tiffen, who was part of New Zealand’s World Cup-winning XI in 2000, the only time it won the trophy, also made it clear that the girls were aware of the bigger picture when she was asked whether they would dedicate victory to Martin Crowe, who passed away earlier this month. “This team dedicates any performance to the country,” she said. “We're representing our country. There have been amazing people who've represented both the White Ferns and Black Caps. Certainly, Martin Crowe, who recently passed away.

“We've drawn inspiration from players that have gone before. We certainly respect the past, but with regards to who we dedicate our performance to, it's pretty easy to say that we are representing our country and we are very proud to do that.

“First and foremost, the players are performing for each other and they believe in each other. We believe in the style that we playing and we're really excited at the opportunity to step out tomorrow and play against a very good West Indies side, who bring out a lot of passion, just as we will.”