Women's World Cup, 2009 March 19, 2009

World Cup final - here we come

What a game



What a game! We have made it to the World Cup final in quite some style. I am particularly chuffed about Suzie Bates’ 168 and our world-record stand – highest for the second wicket in women’s ODI. Her effort was fantastic, she is a very clean hitter of the ball and began very aggressively. The lightning quick outfield just made things a little easier. Some of her six sixes – another record – went right out the park and I can tell you that’s a pure joy to watch. But we didn’t get distracted by getting fours and sixes and also concentrated on accumulating singles. Looking back, 400 was possible but we were just looking to get as many runs as possible.

Our batting is peaking at the right time and today we didn’t mess around with the line-up much. It’s a settled batting order which makes me feel at ease ahead of meeting England. I know we took 48 overs to bowl Pakistan out but it doesn’t worry me – their openers batted really well and the rest of the line-up hardly played any shots to give us a chance. There is still some concern over the fielding – we conceded many overthrows today – and that is an area we really need to work on.

Rebecca Rolls, our former keeper, is holidaying in Australia right now and I must say she timed it well! She has always been a great supporter and morale-booster for us since she retired, always sending us texts and emails encouraging us. She is spending time with the team right now and was part of the side that rattled up 455 against Pakistan in 1997. How cool would that have been? She was certainly pleased by the show we put up.

We have been getting a lot of support from back home as well. The media coverage in New Zealand for the World Cup has been a lot more this time. There has also been an overwhelming response on our message board on the New Zealand Cricket website. But the most heartwarming and inspiring reactions have come from the New Zealand troops out in Afghanistan. The soldiers fighting there have told us they are following our campaign keenly and that is a great lift for us. We always feel proud representing our country, but moments like this make it truly special.

Looking ahead to the final, I know England have beaten us earlier in the tournament but we do not fear them at all. They have a good all-round team, a great balance of youngsters and experience but we are ready for them. Bring ‘em on, I say! While the response back home has been encouraging, I’m not sure how our performance will impact New Zealand cricket, women’s in particular. I know the board has put in plans for developing the women’s game but are contracts on the horizon? I can’t really say. New Zealand is a sport-loving country and a small one, with a population of four million, so it really feels great to represent it.

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