February 22: T20 World Cup - New Zealand v Sri Lanka, Perth
Our XI: Suzie Bates, Katey Martin, Sophie Devine, Chamari Atapattu, Dilani Manodara, Shashikala Siriwardene, Leigh Kasperek, Lea Tahuhu, Amelia Kerr, Udeshika Prabodhani, Jess Kerr
Captain: Sophie Devine
The New Zealand skipper as captain is a good choice as she offers a lot with both bat and ball. Among all New Zealand women to have played over ten games in the format, Devine has the highest strike rate (128.02) with the bat, and in her last four T20Is, has scored a mind-boggling 297 runs and also picked up four wickets.
Vice-captain: Chamari Atapattu
You cannot leave Atapattu out of an XI for a game involving Sri Lanka for sure. Easily the country's best batters, she will be the key to Sri Lanka's progress. We saw a glimpse of what she is capable of with bat and ball against England in the warm-up game - 3 for 21 and a 50-ball 78* in the same game signals form, and intent.
Suzie Bates: Bates, the highest run-getter in the format (3195), is another automatic choice. Since 2017, Bates averages 44.5 and strikes at 123.46, both significantly higher than her career stats, and she scored a 47-ball 78 in the warm-up against Thailand just the other day.
Leigh Kasperek: The offspinner has an astonishing strike rate of 12.8 in the format, which means she picks up a wicket every two overs or so. Kasperek is also her team's most successful spinner in T20Is (60 wickets) and you do not want to leave her out against a team with a wobbly middle-order.
Lea Tahuhu: The bowling spearhead of the New Zealand side, Tahuhu might not have picked up as many wickets as she would have liked in the last few games but her ability to strike early makes her a must-have.
Udeshika Prabodhani: The left-arm medium pacer swings the ball early on and uses her cutters well later in the game. She has an economy of 5.26 in T20Is, thanks to the tricks up her sleeve.
Amelia Kerr: Legspinners are always an asset, and the more experienced Kerr has been a successful one for a while now. For a wristspinner, she has an outstanding economy of 5.85 and is definitely a wicket-taker as well. She also proved her mettle with the bat against Thailand in the warm-up fixture, scoring a 40-ball 54.
Point to note
- The average first-innings score in the last four T20s at the WACA is 148 and the team batting first has won on three of those occasions [Stats from before the game between Thailand and West Indies].