• Suzie Bates will captain New Zealand in her third ICC 50-over World Cup
• The White Ferns captain is two short of a century of appearances for her country
• New Zealand plays its first game on the opening day of ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 vs Sri Lankay Ground on Saturday
When it comes to the ICC Women’s World Cup, experience can make all the difference and that is exactly what Suzie Bates is hoping will give her New Zealand side the edge this summer.
Bates was part of the side that fell just short in 2009, losing to this year’s host England by four wickets in the final in Australia.
The New Zealand captain has led from the front in many a campaign and was the top scorer at the last World Cup in India, notching up 407 runs as her side eventually finished fourth – a performance which saw her named Player of the Series.
And with the competition getting underway this Saturday with England playing India and New Zealand taking on Sri Lanka, Bates is determined more than ever to help the White Ferns get over the line and win the World Cup for the second time.
“We are a really ambitious group and of course we are going into the competition to win it but we know it won’t be easy,” the 29-year-old said.
"There is a determination in the group, we know what we are capable of and we just need to perform consistently.“It’s going to be the most competitive World Cup ever. We know we’ll have to be on the ball from game one if we want the right to contest the finals.”
Bates, who in 2016 became the first player to win both the ICC Women's ODI and T20I Player of the Year awards in the same year, is hoping to make it third time lucky at the ICC WWC.
Twelve of the 15-strong squad attended last year’s ICC World T20 in India, while six players have more than 50 One Day Internationals to their name – experience Bates believes could be invaluable.
She said: “You cannot buy that experience we have gained, it could make the difference. Some of the team has played in England which should help us getting used to the conditions.
“It’s a hugely exciting time for women’s cricket at the moment and we know we enter the tournament with plenty expected of the White Ferns - and that’s great.”
Bates, currently sitting on 98 caps, is in line to make her 100th one-day international appearance at the World Cup and the batswoman admits it would be a huge honour to bring up a century of caps.
“It’s a huge privilege to represent your country that often. It will be a special feeling [to make 100] but I’m just focussed on helping the team.
“We have many leaders in the side, all of them can play a crucial part in helping this team. We have been through some tough times but we have found consistency recently.
“I think those tough times bring you closer together and we have a really close-knit side and it’s that squad spirit that can drive us to the later stages of the competition.”