Andrew Voerman, Ian Anderson and Brendon Egan Are Cricket Stuff Writers
OPINION: Will Australia win a seventh Women’s Cricket World Cup title?
Or can one of the other seven teams challenge them?
What about the White Ferns, who seemed to have found some form against India last month?
Can they be a factor on the floor of a house?
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* Women’s Cricket World Cup begins in shadow of New Zealand’s biggest Covid-19 outbreak
* What we learned from the Women’s Cricket World Cup warm-ups and what it means for White Ferns
* Australia lose Ashleigh Gardner to World Cup start after positive Covid-19 test
With the tournament starting on Friday, as New Zealand host the West Indies at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui, Things Cricket writers have delved into these and other burning issues.
We have just seen the White Ferns win four out of five times against India. What do you read in these results on the eve of the World Cup?
Andrew Voerman: It’s always better to win than to lose, and the White Ferns certainly look to be in a better position now than they have been in some time, but it’s hard to assess what repeatedly beating a opponent says about them. Cautious optimism seems the way to go, especially after a pair of mixed results in their warm-up matches.
Ian Anderson: New Zealand looked a more complete ODI squad than they had in recent years. There were no “piecemeal” actors and everyone knew their role. However, India were playing after a stint of managed isolation and failed to field their best side until the final game, which they won hands down. So promising signs for the tournament hosts, who are a handful when their stars perform, but with some qualifying circumstances.
Bredon-Egan: This is certainly encouraging after their dismal ODI results over the past few summers. Warm-up matches are just that and you shouldn’t read too much about it. Let’s see how the White Ferns fare in round robin games against Australia and England before accurately assessing how they prepare for the critical phase of the tournament.
The White Ferns’ recent formations have offered clues but no certainty as to their best XI. What would be yours for their World Cup opener and why?
A V: Sophie Devine (c), Suzie Bates, Melie Kerr, Amy Satterthwaite, Maddy Green, Brooke Halliday, Katey Martin, Frankie Mackay, Lea Tahuhu, Hayley Jensen, Jess Kerr
A second spinner at Mackay or a fifth setter? I went with the more balanced lineup and Mackay, but I could easily see Hannah Rowe getting the nod (or even both, with one of Jensen or Jess Kerr missing). An imposing top four, bolstered by the rise of Melie Kerr gives way to a team battling at 11.
AI: Devine (c), Bates, Satterthwaite, M Kerr, Green, Halliday, Martin, Tahuhu, Jensen, Rowe, J Kerr
Bates and Devine get the nod to be aggressive on the power play, Satterthwaite at No 3 can be a soothing anchor ahead of Melie Kerr’s drive. They’re a team that beats to 11, which could be key in what should be a high-scoring tournament. Four swing/seam bowlers combined with Melie Kerr’s leg rotation, with Devine an ideal or better sixth bowler, and Satterthwaite’s rotation in reserve. Would have always preferred non-spinner Leigh Kasparek to be on the team.
TO BE: Devine (c), Bates, M Kerr, Satterthwaite, Green, Halliday, Martin, Mackay, Tahuhu, Rowe, J Kerr
The top four are self-selecting and will be essential to the White Ferns’ hopes with the bat, expected to score the bulk of the runs. Mackay makes the XI with her ability to make a difference in all three facets of the game. The experienced Tahuhu takes the new ball with Rowe and Jess Kerr set to be key bowling figures alongside her.
Prediction time. Which four teams advance to the semi-finals? Who makes the final? Who wins it?
A V: Australia, England, New Zealand and India. Australia beat England in the final to sign off a historic global era of sporting dominance.
AI: If Covid-19 doesn’t have a massive impact on the teams – Australia, England, New Zealand and India, Australia triumphing in an Ashes final.
TO BE: Australia, England, New Zealand, South Africa. Australia and England meet in the final on April 3 at Hagley, with Australia winning their seventh title.