New Zealand look to turn tables in T20I series against England
Sophie Devine celebrates with her New Zealand team-mates. © Getty Images
After a morale-boosting seven-wicket victory in the final ODI on Sunday (February 28), New Zealand would be hoping to maintain that momentum when they face England in the first of three T20Is on Wednesday (March 3) in Wellington.
The Sophie Devine-led side suffered heavy defeats in the first two ODIs before clinching a consolation win in the third thanks to Amy Satterthwaite's brilliant century and an allround effort by Amelia Kerr. T20 is a different ball game with a different mindset and strategy and New Zealand would be looking up to Devine at the top plundering those huge sixes across the ground like she did in the recently-concluded Super Smash.
The right-hander was in rich hot form finishing at the top of run-getters charts with 434 runs in eight games that included the fastest-ever T20 century – a 36-ball ton against Otago Sparks. She also hit three half-centuries during the tournament.
With the scores of 15, 6 and 16 in the ODIs, the skipper would also be hoping to get some form on a personal level. Hayley Jensen, who was promoted as an opener in the ODIs has been successful, and it won’t be a surprise if the 28-year-old comes out to opening the batting.
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Satterthwaite, Amelia, Katey Martin, Brooke Halliday will make up the middle order. Kate Ebrahim, who had a brilliant Super Smash for Canterbury Magicians, might also get a look in after three years. However, the form of Martin would be a worry for the New Zealand. With Lea Tahuhu still out due to injury, Jess Kerr would be spearheading the pace attack.
However, with seamer Hannah Rowe tweaking her quad during the third ODI, it remains to be seen whether Gabby Sullivan makes her international debut. Leigh Kasperek, who wasn't part of the ODI squad, would be back to head the spin department for the T20Is.
On the other hand, England will be brimming with confidence having won the ODI series 2-1. Tammy Beaumont at the top has been in raging form scoring three consecutive half-centuries in the ODI series, while the likes of Heather Knight and Natalie Sciver too looked in great touch. “It’s really exciting to get into the T20Is. Obviously, we had some success with the series win in ODIs and hopefully carry that form in the T20Is and play some really good cricket,” Beaumont said ahead of the match.
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The only area of concern for Lisa Keightley will be the form of Danielle Wyatt, who had scores of 1, 0 and 17 in the ODIs. Beaumont has backed her opening partner to come good, saying “She is certainly suited for T20 cricket. She is so expansive and loves going out playing her shots. That’s the role she has played for England and has done for a long long time. Hopefully, she gets some runs under her belt and gives us a great start.”
With no Anya Shrubsole, Katherine Brunt has led the charge for England in the bowling department with able support from Sciver, Sarah Glenn and others. Freya Davies and Natasha Farrant too looked in great touch in whatever game time they have got.
Who will open their account first in the T20Is?
New Zealand: Sophie Devine (c), Amy Satterthwaite, Kate Ebrahim, Maddy Green, Hayley Jensen, Leigh Kasperek, Amelia Kerr, Jess Kerr, Rosemary Mair, Katey Martin (wk), Thamsyn Newton, Hannah Rowe, Brooke Halliday, Gabby Sullivan.
England: Heather Knight (c), Natalie Sciver, Katherine Brunt, Tammy Beaumont, Kate Cross, Freya Davies, Sophia Dunkley, Sophie Ecclestone, Georgia Elwiss, Natasha Farrant, Sarah Glenn, Amy Jones, Mady Villiers, Fran Wilson, Lauren Winfield-Hill, Danielle Wyatt.