New Zealand women beat their own record of the highest score by a team in ODIs, surpassing 455 for 5 they had scored in 1997 against Pakistan on home soil. On Friday in Dublin, the tone of their innings was set by captain Suzie Bates' 151 and Maddy Green's 121 as the team broke a whole lot of other records against Ireland. ESPNcricinfo spoke to Bates and Green about how they went about it and what the record means to them.
491 is a massive score, such days don't come often. What was the real reason you think was behind this extraordinary performance?
Bates: It's hard to say. The wicket we played on was a really good cricket wicket and the outfield was lightning fast, so that definitely helps. I think the Irish team was without some of their key players and bowlers, and I don't know how many of them have bowled against players who consistently hit the ball hard. Look, we did play some really good cricket, to score 491 is pretty unbelievable no matter who it's against. I think just the way the girls got going, the way young girls are coming into the side, and they train to play like that because they want to be a part of Twenty20 cricket and the Big Bash and so they work on their shots and they know it's a power game now.
Green: It was nice to contribute to the team and obviously set a world-record total so it was really pleasing to get a few runs.
You seem to be in terrific form. You were the Player of the Match in the IPL exhibition match in Mumbai, you've scored two centuries for Hampshire recently, and now your 10th ODI century.
Bates: I guess I have had a nice little run, you've got to maximise it while it lasts.
It must be the first time in Dublin for most of the team members, if not all. How easy was it to adapt and how different are the conditions from back home
Bates: Well, after today I'll take this ground with me everywhere. But here the sun's been out, the YMCA wicket is a very good batting wicket and has a fast outfield.
Green: We've actually been really lucky in terms of the weather here, it's been quite sunny and warm. So quite similar to a New Zealand summer in terms of weather and I think there was a really fast outfield and the pitch is a little bit slower than what we play on back home and we've had a few days here to get used to the conditions. It's a great ground and we've enjoyed playing here and I won't say it's too dissimilar. Maybe just a fraction slower which is quite nice for us.
Was the plan to go after the bowling as soon as you opted to bat?
Bates: After batting in the Twenty20 on this wicket, I knew there was going to be a chance of a high score. When we won the toss, we had no doubt about batting first, but never would have thought we would score that amount of runs and go about it the way we did as a batting line-up. It's just one of those days where you just enjoy it and make the most of the opportunity and then after that Maddy Green pulled it on and Amelia Kerr as well, so kind of unbelievable that we got the world record so just going to enjoy that.
You both went after the young legspinner Cara Murray - was that a plan?
Green: We both wanted to be aggressive against spin and we both played a really positive style of cricket and sometimes luck goes your way and today I felt for both Suzie and me, it did. And I'm sure the legspinner is going to come back another day and bowl better at us. But today we just played really positive cricket and it's the most pleasing thing that it happened to come off for both of us today.
Suzie, did your century remind you of the 168 you scored in the 2009 World Cup in Sydney in another record total?
Bates: I guess when you're young, you're kind of in the moment and you're not really aware of records or you haven't got big scores so you're just kind of in the moment. Today, it got a little bit tough once I got to the hundred, of how hard to go and I was swinging but couldn't time the ball. So, I was trying to keep my shape but look you know what your highest scores are but at the end of the day, I was just trying to get as many runs as I could for the team and also be aware that we wanted to get as many of our batters out in the middle while we can on this tour.
You also overtook Debbie Hockley as the leading scorer for New Zealand. What does it all mean to you?
Bates: It's hard to say. Out in the middle, when they announced it, you kind of just take a moment and think it's pretty cool. At the moment, you just play and give it the best you can on any day and you want the team to win and when you break a record, it does remind me of a few people, in particular Mike Shrimpton who always wanted me to get better and break records even though it wasn't potentially something I thought about. It helps when you're out in the middle to have those little goals. It was a special moment but most importantly just a really special day for the White Ferns to break that highest score ever and to just play some really exciting cricket.
Maddy has not batted at No. 3 in the past, probably because of the depth and the allrounders you have had. What was it like to bat up the order and score a century straightaway?
Green: I've been batting in the lower order a lot in the last five years that I've been with the team. It was nice to get an opportunity at No. 3 today and I just made the most of that. It was great batting with Suzie and learning from her and all her experience. So I really enjoyed it. We've obviously got some fantastic top-order batters in our side and Haidee [Tiffen] and Matt Bell, our batting coach, have been looking to give people various opportunities and Katey Martin doesn't join the team until the England part of the tour. So, fortunately, I was given a chance at the top of the order and looked to make the most of that.
Bates: Actually, for the White Ferns in the past, historically, when you're going into a big series - say a World Cup - we've got our top order firing but perhaps our middle order hasn't had many opportunities and then in the pressure games when the top order fails we've had to call on the ones with little cricket. The support staff and the coach Haidee Tiffen are trying to get us as prepared as we can for the England and South Africa series. Amy Satterthwaite obviously has been brilliant for us recently so to get Maddy an almost a guaranteed bat at No. 3, otherwise she bats at 5 she doesn't get to face many balls, we just wanted to have some confidence going and we want to do that with as much of the top order as we can. And Sophie Devine is still to come into the team and we want to give everyone runs under their bat.
The best knock of your life?
Green: Yes, it's definitely up there. You don't often score a hundred for your country so to do that for the first time, it was my favourite knock of my life so far.
Suzie, you have a new opening partner in Jess Watkin who has scored two quickfire half-centuries in her first two matches. What was it like to bat with her and what do you make of her?
Bates: She's one of the most talented cricketers that we've had come through. She can play 360 degrees of the ground, she reverse sweeps, she hits the ball hard, she hits the ball on the off side and the leg side, and she's been someone that we've kept our eye on for a while. She can bowl offspin as well, she hasn't had a ball yet but she's a very good off-spin bowler. And the thing with Jess is that we've talked to her about her fitness and at the international level she's worked hard on that. She wants to be a part of the team and she's definitely got the skill level, that's for sure.
Maddy, what was on your mind when Watkin got out and you went out to bat?
Green: I thought it was easy to get caught up and try and keep up the momentum and I wanted to go out there and focus on doing my process as well. I just wanted to bat with Suzie and try and bat as long as I can and it just seemed to come off the middle. It was really nice.
And then you took charge once Bates got out. You played the senior's role
Green: I've been around for a little while now and Amelia came in after Suzie got out. Amelia has got a fantastic cricket brain on her head but at that point I had been in for a little while so I just took the reins and just built a partnership and it was fantastic batting with Amelia, she's a fantastic talent and it was really, really great to see her get a few runs today as well.
You made your international debut six years ago and before this match, your highest ODI score was 46. How much does this knock help your career?
Green: I think massively. I made the team when I was 19 and for me, it's always been a hurdle to try and get to that 50-mark. So to go past that and get a hundred is really good. Hopefully, this can do a lot of good for my confidence and even when I go back down the order, when Katey Martin comes back into the side, even then it's sort of taking all the learning that I can from both players' innings from future and past innings as well and try to apply that. Every time you go out there, you learn something new or you put something in the memory bank which hopefully helps me going forward. So hopefully I can take some of the key things from today that I've done well and largely being just focused on my processes and doing what I'm doing and not get too caught up in trying to bat like Suzie Bates.
What does this kind of a team performance mean before the England tour?
Bates: It's going to be a completely different challenge and coming up against the world champions and a really good side in South Africa. Performance-wise today and the way we went about it, it's given us good confidence but we're still aware that it's going to be tough gig in England and we just hope that we can play this brand of cricket and be really confident in our game because we've shown we've got a massive among of skill level in that batting order.