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February 20, 2009
Haidee Tiffen, the New Zealand captain, believes her team has the ability to win the Women's World Cup, which starts next month in Australia. Tiffen had played a key role in the team's triumph in the 2000 edition of the tournament, New Zealand's only World Cup win, scoring 187 runs and taking eight wickets.
"The victory in the 2000 World Cup is very special to me and is very close to my heart," she said. "It was a privilege to be part of that extremely talented side. Now we again have a world-class side which has all the credentials to regain the World Cup."
Tiffen, 29, said it was "difficult and unfair" to compare the current side and the one lead by Emily Drumm at the World Cup in 2000. "That side was amazing and had world-class players in Catherine Campbell, Drumm, Hockley, Rebecca Rolls, Anna Smith, Katrina Keenan, Kathryn Ramel and others while in the present team we have outstanding young talent in Amy Satterthwaite, Nicola Browne, Suzie Bates, Beth McNeill, Aimee Mason and others.
"Like any other player in the side, it's my dream and wish to win the World Cup again. But for any dream to come true, it requires tremendous hard work and commitment which we have put in over the last couple of years," she said. "It is any sportsperson's dream to be crowned as world champion. I know how it feels and would love to taste it again also because I am now the captain."
New Zealand had a 2-2 result in their recent Rose Bowl series away in Australia, and Tiffen believed the experience against the defending champions would hold them in good stead. "It was an excellent opportunity to play against the world's best side just before the World Cup. We can draw a lot of positives from that series, keep improving and learn to be more consistent.
"One of the positives from the series was that we reshuffled our batting order in almost every match to provide a chance to each player to take the responsibility and show what she has to offer. I am glad that every player rose to the occasion and performed which gives me the confidence that our batting not only has depth but is very flexible with every player capable of batting at any position and in any situation.
"Our bowling is decent and has shown it can not only contain batters but can also pick up wickets at regular intervals. However, we have to be more intelligent while bowling in PowerPlays and have to try to be as straight as possible."
New Zealand raced to a 2-0 lead in their quest to regain the Rose Bowl, but lost the next two games. The final ODI was washed out, enabling Australia retain the trophy. "We also need to be a bit more consistent as victory is always nice and gives you the much required confidence," Tiffen said. "Such is the format of the tournament that if you are not consistent, you could be knocked out with one defeat. It is going to be a very tough tournament and consistency will be the key to success."
Tiffen said New Zealand's tournament opener against Australia - South Africa and West Indies are the other teams in their group - will be a crucial game. "It is a very important match not only from a psychological point of view but also because of the carry-over points that the teams take to the Super Six stage," she said. "We have a couple of warm-up matches in the lead up to the tournament opener in which we will try to give final shape to our side so that we are best prepared for the match against Australia.
"In any tournament, you want to be in the best position and this tournament is no different as we would like to go in the Super Six stage with maximum carry-over points. But the task will not be easy as Australia is a tough team to beat and with the event being staged in its backyard, it definitely has an edge over its main rivals. I have been part of the team that won the tournament on its home turf and know what home advantage can do to your confidence and can bring the best out of you."
Tiffen said her team were expected to make it to the Super Six. "South Africa and the West Indies are the other sides in our pool and though we haven't played them in the recent past, it would be a fair comment to say we should qualify for the Super Six stage." The top three teams from the group qualify for the second stage.
Tiffen felt four sides were in the reckoning to win the tournament. "I think Australia, New Zealand, England and India are of equal strength and any team can beat the other on its day. It is an open tournament with no clear-cut favourites. It boils down to the fact that the team which plays better on the match day will walk away the winner."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Plays of the day from the IPL match between Chennai Super Kings and Kings XI Punjab in Abu Dhabi