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Jenny Roesler in Sydney
March 19, 2009
It was all but inevitable that New Zealand would beat eighth-ranked Pakistan at the Drummoyne Oval on Thursday and seal their place in the final. Yet the way they did should send a warning to England, whose 17-win streak came to a shuddering stop against Australia over in North Sydney.
Their coach Gary Stead played down his side's thumping performance - which included 168 from Suzie Bates and Haidee Tiffen's maiden ODI century in a world-record stand of 262 - but was not shy about stating their prospects for Sunday's final against England.
"I will be telling our girls we're going to go really, really hard at England and we're going to try to smash them off the ground early in the game." Stead said. "It's a little hard to take too much from this game. It's not the standard of England by any means, but you see special innings occasionally and the partnership there between Suzie and Haidee was outstanding and to break some world records is really important to our team.
"Haidee's had a pretty good tournament, she's been good with some runs and Suzie's starting to show some nice form and coming into the business end of the tournament, that's important. We know she's a classy player who can hit the ball pretty hard and she showed that today.
"If we're confident and we trust our instincts I think we can beat anyone. We're really looking forward to the game and if we can relax and play good cricket and trust our abilities I'm sure we can do well."
Stead dismissed the suggestion that New Zealand may have preferred a stronger opposition heading into the final. "I don't think it matters too much," he said. "We had some tough games against India and Australia and England earlier. I think it's nice for the girls that they've had the chance to go out there and feel good about their games and they're confident."
Tiffen played the anchor as Bates smashed her way to breaking records. "I thought the really good thing in their partnership was the roles they played," Stead said. "Haidee understood she was the run-getter and after a while Suzie said 'Right, it's boom time' and she went big."
Then he watched as Tiffen brought up her first century with a dab to square. "When Haidee had it in her sights you could see she wasn't going to miss out," he said. "She knuckled down."
Having piled up 7 for 373, New Zealand had their sloppy fielding moments but in defending such a huge total they were never in trouble. Besides, they had their minds on other, much grander, matters.
Jenny Roesler is a former assistant editor at CricinfoFeeds: Jenny Roesler
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