White Ferns be­gin with cru­cial clash against In­dia

Taranaki Daily News - - Sport - An­drew Vo­er­man

The White Ferns’ most im­por­tant match at the World Twenty20 is their first, to­mor­row against In­dia.

The two teams have met just once in the past three years – in a one-day in­ter­na­tional at last year’s World Cup in Eng­land – which means there’s no head-to­head form to speak of, mak­ing for some­what of a step into the un­known.

The White Ferns are ranked sec­ond in the world in the game’s short­est for­mat, and a win over fifth-ranked In­dia will ease their pas­sage to the semi­fi­nals.

Lose and they will likely need to beat world No 1 Aus­tralia in their sec­ond match, a team they were re­cently swept by in a se­ries played across the Tas­man.

Be­fore they set off for the West Indies, their home for the next fort­night or so, the White Ferns cap­tain Amy Sat­terth­waite was ready for the chal­lenge of tak­ing on In­dia in such a cru­cial match first up.

‘‘It’s al­ways an in­ter­est­ing one when you haven’t played a team for a while,’’ she said.

‘‘Ob­vi­ously their team’s changed a lit­tle bit, but like­wise ours will have as well. Hope­fully, hav­ing some play­ers they haven’t seen much of will put us in a good po­si­tion.’’

The White Ferns also have Pak­istan and Ire­land in their group, two teams they should ex­pect to beat com­fort­ably – though those matches could mean noth­ing if they don’t win at least one of their first two.

Eng­land, the West Indies and South Africa are the threats in the other group.

Spin is ex­pected to play a big role in the Caribbean, much like it did in In­dia two years ago, where the White Ferns made the most of the con­di­tions to up­set Aus­tralia in the group stage, only to lose to the even­tual cham­pi­ons, the West Indies, in the semi­fi­nals.

Coach Haidee Tif­fen was con­fi­dent her side had the tools to suc­ceed.

‘‘We’ve got high-qual­ity spin­ners in the likes of Amelia Kerr and Leigh Kasperek who haven’t played a lot of T20 cricket but have been suc­cess­ful. To go to con­di­tions like this that will suit them, hope­fully they will con­tinue that form.’’

The White Ferns lost to the West Indies by seven wick­ets in their fi­nal warmup match yes­ter­day, scratch­ing their way to 122-9 af­ter be­ing sent in.

At a glance

Amelia Kerr is one of sev­eral spin op­tions for the White Ferns.

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