After missing out on a semifinal berth in the previous edition, New Zealand will be banking on experience and home advantage to claim their second ICC Women's World Cup title.
The White Ferns have always been a consistent performer in ICC events as they have made it to the top four numerous times even though they have won the title only once. They will be aiming for another good performance in this edition considering the quality and experience they have in their squad, and expectations will be even higher given the tournament is on home soil.
Their preparation leading to this tournament didn’t appear to have them as one of the favourites, with New Zealand having won only thrice in a 23-match run, spread across a period of two years. So, confidence and momentum weren’t quite in their favour going into 2022.
All of those matches were against powerhouses like Australia, England, South Africa and India though, providing plenty of opportunity to learn from their mistakes and improve against the highest calibre of opposition. And that time to work on the team’s weaknesses and strengthen their game and approach appears to have paid dividends, with a 4-1 series win against India in February suggesting that New Zealand may be peaking at just the right time.
Even though most of the players in the White Ferns' squad are pretty young, there is plenty of experience in the likes of Sophie Devine, Lea Tahuhu, Amy Satterthwaite, Katey Martin and Suzie Bates to help them in navigating through tricky situations.
Young players like Amelia Kerr and Brooke Halliday have become two of their best players in the last couple of years as well, and they will be eager to deliver equally impactful performances as the experienced lot. The batting unit looks pretty sorted with the likes of Devine, Bates and Satterthwaite there, but in the bowling department the onus will be on Lea Tahuhu to lead a young attack.
Sophie Devine (c), Amy Satterthwaite (vc), Suzie Bates, Lauren Down, Maddy Green, Brooke Halliday, Hayley Jensen, Fran Jonas, Jess Kerr, Melie Kerr, Frankie Mackay, Rosemary Mair, Katey Martin, Hannah Rowe, Lea Tahuhu
4 Mar - vs WI
7 Mar - vs BAN
10 Mar - IND
13 Mar - vs AUS
17 Mar - vs SA
20 Mar - vs ENG
26 Mar - vs PAK
Best Finish: Champions (2000)
The White Ferns have made it to the World Cup final four times and have won it only once. Their title win came at home in 2000, after missing out in consecutive editions in 1993 and 1997.
New Zealand took on their Trans-Tasman rivals Australia in the final and won it by a narrow margin of four runs.
It turned out to be a nail-biting contest with Belinda Clark threatening to take the match away from the hosts with a superb innings of 91, but the White Ferns claimed Australia's last wicket in the very first delivery of the final over to lift their first-ever World Cup.
Look Out For
The 21-year-old started her career as a leg-spinner but she has developed more into a quality all-rounder now for New Zealand. Kerr is one of their key bowlers and is a vital cog of their middle-order as well now. She has played 46 ODIs and has claimed 67 wickets at an excellent average of 26.35.
With the bat, she has 1039 runs to her name at an average of just a shade under 40. She also holds the record for the highest score in Women's ODIs, which came against Ireland in 2018 - a breathtaking innings of 232* off just 145 deliveries. And her recent form has been sensational, with Kerr scoring a hundred and three half-centuries in five innings against India.
The 32-year-old is going to be the key player for New Zealand in this campaign. Devine is a very experienced player with 121 ODIs and 2918 runs to her name. She will need to set the tone for her team at the top of the order. An overall career strike-rate of 81.78 gives quite a good idea of her big-hitting prowess and New Zealand will be banking on that once again.
Devine is quite an effective bowler too. She has claimed 86 ODI wickets to date, going at a good economy-rate of 4.46. She is capable of delivering crucial overs of medium pace with the new ball and in the middle-overs, and the home conditions will aid her a lot as well.
Australia - 13 March
The Trans-Tasman rivalry between New Zealand and Australia is pretty famous and the hosts also have a point to prove as they have lost all of the nine ODIs they have played against the Aussies since the last World Cup. So, a win here will make a pretty big statement and it will give them a lot of confidence going on in the tournament.
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