Devine concerned by NZ's batting failures

New Zealand women's vice-captain Sophie Devine has said that losing too many wickets "in clumps" was a problem that has been bothering the team for a year

Suzie Bates was bowled for a duck, West Indies v New Zealand, 1st women's ODI, St Kitts, September 12, 2014

Sophie Devine - "We find a lot of players go back into their shells. We want to fall back on our brand of cricket of being confident whether we are one down or nine down"  •  WICB Media

The New Zealand women bowlers have adapted extremely well in the first two ODIs to conditions completely foreign to them. They bowled India out for 142 in the first match, and for 163 in the second, but the visitors' batting still remains a worry. After falling 17 runs short on Sunday, New Zealand managed to chase 164 with just three wickets in hand. Allrounder and vice-captain Sophie Devine, who top-scored with 33 today, said that losing too many wickets "in clumps" was a problem that has been bothering them for a year.
"I think it's actually been an issue for us the last 12 months - losing wickets in clumps, not losing one wicket but two or three at a time which puts a lot of pressure on the players," Devine said. "We find a lot of players go back into their shells. We want to fall back on our brand of cricket of being confident whether we are one down or nine down and that we are still going to go out and play our same way. So there's plenty to learn from today and we're really happy that we got the win. It wasn't the smoothest chase but we got over the line today."
In the last 12 months, New Zealand have played 11 ODIs with only three results in their favour, including today's game. Batting first, they have made142, 69, 240 for 8, 168 and 230 for 8, successfully defending only one of those scores. Batting second, they have been bowled out four out of six times (thrice under 200), winning only twice, with scores of: 181, 210, 104, 219 for 1, 125 and 164 for 7. In other words, they have successfully chased a target of over 200 only once in the last year.
Devine acknowledged New Zealand have been losing too many wickets, but confidently said it's something they are aware of and can improve on with a batting line-up that runs deep.
"In an ideal world we would have been 2-0 up chasing that sort of total (in the first ODI) but the really positive thing about our team is that every one bats right down to No. 11. Morna Nielsen at No. 11 has actually opened for her state cricket so everyone can bat and we've got full confidence in the team, right down to the No. 11 that they can come out and bat.
"We were really disappointed with the way the first game went. Obviously in first half of the game our bowling was fantastic and if you'd said to us at the start of the day that we were going to bowl India out for 140, we'd take it ten times out of ten. It's obviously the batting that required focus and today our players went out with more intent to score. Obviously conditions are different to what we face in New Zealand but it's all about intent and coming out hard and making sure we play our own game and don't get boxed up into playing within our shells."
Batting with intent is something captain Suzie Bates spoke about too before the series started, and Devine emphasised that they believed in playing an "aggressive" brand of cricket.
"I think we spoke about this even before we came on this tour that we want to play a style of cricket that's aggressive," Devine said. "If you look at the BlackCaps, how they've played at the World Cup - we don't want to copy them we want to play our own style - that's a very New Zealand way of doing things. So we've got the players that come out hard in the first 10 overs and take it to the team and that's what happened today. Suzie went out early, she went out in fashion that was attacking for her."
As Devine set up the chase along with Katie Perkins in a partnership of 49, and took them only 35 runs astray from the target, she admitted that she got off to starts in both ODIs, but did not apply herself enough with wickets falling around her - something she has been working on.
"I feel like I have been getting starts but it's not kicking on and I think that probably comes down to a little bit of the situation in the game as well," she said. "I felt myself and Katie Perkins had a really good partnership and it is important to build partnerships with whoever else comes in.
"I've got to take something away from today's game and it is about applying myself when we are losing wickets and making sure I'm staying around. We have spoken a lot about it as a group that when you lose wickets, it's hard and you need to rebuild and if you're in you need to take that responsibility to stay in."

Vishal Dikshit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo