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New Zealand have been in the last two World T20 finals, losing both, one to Australia and one to England. They lost to Australia from the last ball, and fought hard after making an under-par score against the English. They were well drilled, well lead and played consistently good cricket. They were good with the ball, in the field or when batting. They were not a team of champions, but a team that played consistently good cricket.
In this tournament they have not.
Having already lost to the West Indies in the qualifying rounds, essentially limping towards the semi-final, they were not expected to dominate the best team in women's cricket, but at least hold their own.
Instead they were easily outplayed in almost every way.
Their fielding was poor by their standards, a great sliding throw and overhead catch would take much of the focus away from their fumbling and the keeper, Katey Martin, letting balls straight through her legs.
With the ball they tried hard, but lacked any key weapons. Nicola Browne started well early on, and Erin Bermingham landed some good deliveries, but neither ever looked like breaking through.
It was with the bat the Kiwis were really bad. Amy Satterthwaite was the only batsmen who stayed in for any length of time, but her 30 off 39 was scratchy and she struggled to get enough singles or boundaries to put England under any pressure. They struggled against the pace of Katherine Brunt and the spin of Dani Wyatt and Holly Colvin. They couldn't manoeuvre the ball around, seemed to lack power to blast through and at no stage did they look like making a score that would challenge England at all.
They even managed to miss out on a wicket because of a back-foot no ball. It couldn't have gone much further wrong for them.
Perhaps the only part of the game they looked on par with England was in captaincy. Suzie Bates is one of the best leaders in world cricket and tactically she is arguably as good as any playing captain around. She refused to give up, and instead of allowing easy singles, which is the modern captain's way, she regularly kept up to six players inside the circle to choke England and make them play the big shots.
Bates' tactics kept England batting for longer than they wanted and pushed the game into the 18th over with ring fields and attacking moves. At one stage she even used Browne to bowl short to England, hoping for a mistimed pull shot from Taylor, that they got, but it didn't go to hand. It was desperate, and didn't get the result New Zealand needed, which was a miracle after their disastrous batting display, started by Bates with a horrendous run out for a duck.
It was a pitch that even with 20 or 30 runs more, perhaps, Bates' tricks might have been enough. Although it is hard to see where they could have found 20 or 30 more runs as they didn't ever handle the conditions all that well.
New Zealand have been a very strong team for a long time. Failing to get to the final should be the motivation that they need to get the most out of this young squad. They are young, talented, play as a team and are magnificently led.
They owe it to themselves to do better than simply be the team England ease past on their way to the final.
Keywords: Women's cricket
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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