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June 25, 2007
New Zealand women believe it's time to halt their losing slide against the world champions Australia. The two sides meet next month for the Rose Bowl series, which Australia have retained six times since they regained it in 1999-2000.
The White Ferns have won only twice in their last 23 encounters. The momentum, then, is all with Australia, who retained the quadrangular series title in India in March, losing only two matches - although New Zealand was one of those victors.
Now New Zealand's captain Haidee Tiffen is defiant, stressing: "We are keen to take on the world champions. We love playing Australia. We love being challenged by the best team in the world."
Tiffen says that the last Rose Bowl series, a 5-0 cleansweep for Australia, was much more competitive than the results would suggest. She did, though, concede that New Zealand were more fragile than Australia.
"[It] showed really how close the teams were. Yes, we cracked under the pressure and Australia on each day played with cooler, calmer heads. I believe we were competitive. We can only keep moving forward."
Both sides will be missing key players for the series. Australia are without the recently retired Cathryn Fitzpatrick, who had 180 ODI wickets, and instead will be pinning their hopes on Emma Sampson for the pace spearhead role.
New Zealand are looking to regroup after losing Rebecca Rolls through retirement, while the batsman Emily Drumm is not eligible for selection as she is playing in England, and the allrounder Suzie Bates is not available. Rolls struck 2201 runs in 104 ODIs, and had 133 wicketkeeping dismissals.
"Rebecca's experience, knowledge and talent will be certainly missed," said Tiffen. "It will be interesting to see how the new faces get on."
Those new faces are Amy Satterthwaite and Rachel Priest. Satterthwaite, the Canterbury allrounder, and Priest, the wicketkeeper-batsman from Central Districts, were both in the New Zealand A team last summer.
The Rose Bowl series kicks off in Darwin in July.
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