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Feature

It's all coming together nicely for New Zealand

West Indies banking on their stalwarts to deliver again

S Sudarshanan
S Sudarshanan
03-Mar-2022
New Zealand will bank on Amelia Kerr's outstanding form with bat and ball  •  Getty Images

New Zealand will bank on Amelia Kerr's outstanding form with bat and ball  •  Getty Images

New Zealand

Overview
New Zealand couldn't have chosen a better time to get into a winning habit. Their 4-1 ODI series win against India was followed by a mammoth 322-run chase against Australia in the warm-up game, with a loss to Pakistan in between. And the key factor is their opening combination, with New Zealand reuniting Suzie Bates and Sophie Devine after having tried seven different players in the spot since Bates was out injured in October 2020.
Their batting is firing in unison and the promotion of Amelia Kerr to No. 3, starting from the series against India, is having the desired effect with Kerr in outstanding form. Lauren Down was fitting in well in their batting plans before being ruled out. But in Maddy Green and Brooke Halliday, they have players who could close out the innings with the bat, with Katey Martin also in the mix.
The spin department has enough variety, with Frances Mackay's offspin and Fran Jonas' left-arm spin to complement Kerr's legbreaks and ripping googlies. Lea Tahuhu's batting coming good in recent times to go with her primary skill - bowling fast - allows New Zealand to have enough depth.
Squad
Sophie Devine (capt), Amy Satterthwaite (vice-capt), Suzie Bates, Maddy Green, Brooke Halliday, Hayley Jensen, Fran Jonas, Jess Kerr, Amelia Kerr, Frankie Mackay, Rosemary Mair, Katey Martin, Hannah Rowe, Lea Tahuhu, Georgia Plimmer | Travelling reserve: Molly Penfold
Recent form
Before winning the home series against India, New Zealand had lost their last four ODI series to Australia and England - both home and away - winning just two matches in them.
Player to watch
Amelia Kerr's promotion in the batting order has worked wonders for New Zealand. She opted out of New Zealand's tour to England in 2021 and the following Women's Big Bash League to focus on her mental health. When she returned to play the Super Smash 2021-22, Kerr finished as the leading run-getter for Wellington Blaze, the runners-up, and had the third-highest wickets in the competition. She carried that form into the series against India and also in the second warm-up clash, finishing 92 not out in 75 balls.
What the captain said
"There's a number of us who were inspired by those players in that tournament [in 2000] and it's pretty incredible to think here we are, some 20-odd years later, hosting our own World Cup and the opportunity to hopefully replicate what they did well back in 2000."
Sophie Devine

West Indies

Overview
With a core of Stafanie Taylor, Deandra Dottin, Hayley Matthews, Shakera Selman and Anisa Mohammed - throw in an Afy Fletcher, Chinelle Henry and a Chedean Nation - West Indies look formidable on paper, with enough experience to back the youth. They have a fairly strong line-up since Dottin took up a spot at the top of the order with Matthews shifting down to the middle. They have an able back-up for Anisa in Karishma Ramharack in the spin department. However, after their runners-up finish in the 2013 World Cup, they are yet to light up the stage in ODIs.
Squad
Stafanie Taylor (capt), Anisa Mohammed (vice-capt), Aaliyah Alleyne, Shemaine Campbelle, Shamilia Connell, Deandra Dottin, Afy Fletcher, Cherry-Ann Fraser, Chinelle Henry, Kycia Knight, Hayley Matthews, Chedean Nation, Karishma Ramharack, Shakera Selman, Rashada Williams | Travelling reserves: Kaysia Schultz, Mandy Mangru, Jannillea Glasgow
Recent form
Though West Indies lost the series 2-1 to South Africa recently, they had ended 2021 on a winning note, whitewashing Pakistan on their soil 3-0. They also began the World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe with a win over Ireland before the tournament was cancelled because of Covid-19.
Player to watch
Ever since she returned from her knee injury in 2021, Deandra Dottin has had a second wind, raking up scores and giving West Indies just the starts at the top of the order. She gave a taste of what teams could expect, when she struck a career-best and unbeaten 150 against South Africa in the first ODI and then hit the most runs in a Super Over - in men's or women's games - in the next game.
What the captain said
"The youngsters just need to take whatever advice from the experienced players. We are here to always support the youngsters. A lot of us are getting older. So it would be nice to integrate those youngsters so that they could also gain experience."
Stafanie Taylor

S Sudarshanan is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo