Home WC swansong for NZ

Christchurch, March 25 : With New Zealand very unlikely to reach the ICC Women’s World Cup semi-finals, captain Sophie Devine on Friday said she is focusing on leading her side to a strong finish in front of capacity crowds. New Zealand will take on Pakistan on March 26 in their final league game with 100 percent attendance allowed. The hosts currently sit in sixth position with four points and would need big wins for Bangladesh against England and South Africa against India as well as one of their own against Pakistan to take qualification down to net run rate and stand any chance of making the knockout stages. However, Devine thinks “we’ve got to be realistic about it”. “I don’t know the exact numbers, but we do know that this is likely our final game here and that’s how we want to play it. Bob (Carter, head coach) mentioned it in training earlier today that tomorrow will be our final, it’s obviously not the final that we thought we would be playing in. “But we’ve still got so much passion and pride that we want to make sure that we go out tomorrow and really put on a performance that we’re certainly proud of but also all our friends and family and the rest in New Zealand are hopefully really proud of as well.” New Zealand will be without Lea Tahuhu, their leading wicket-taker in this World Cup, who has failed to recover from a hamstring injury sustained in the loss to England. But the Christchurch native will be cheering on from the bench. Devine added, “It’s always tough to miss out when you get the opport ty to play at home. She told me yesterday that she doesn’t have a great track record playing games for the New Zealand side here at Hagley (Oval). “She pulled up lame a couple of years ago with another hamstring injury, so I think she’s only ever completed two out of four games, so maybe it’s a good sign that she’s sitting this one out. But we’ll certainly miss her experience. “I think she’s been fantastic with the ball this competition and we’ll certainly miss her leading that pace attack. But she’ll be supporting from the sidelines. She’s certainly really hopeful that we’re going to have a full crowd in to support the White Ferns.” While New Zealand have home advantage at Hagley Oval, Pakistan will also be in familiar surroundings having played England on the same ground two days earlier. Pakistan sit at the bottom of the table with one win from their six games but are aiming to improve upon their nine-wicket loss to the defending champions. Captain Bismah Maroof said: “I think we know the conditions now and especially in batting how we can apply ourselves more. And in bowling, we know these are likely for the fast bowlers, so we’ll plan better for the New Zealand match.” Pakistan have struggled with the bat during the tournament with the usually dependable Aliya Riaz out of form having made just 73 runs in five innings. However, Bismah is reluctant to put pressure on the right-hander who was named Pakistan’s Women’s Cricketer of the Year after a strong showing at the T20 World Cup 2020. “She is the kind of player we don’t want to pressure, and we just want her to apply herself, because we know that if we give her too much information then she will not be able to play. “So, we have given her a free space so that she can apply herself, but definitely she hasn’t had a good tournament. But she has also realised that, and I hope that she can continue whatever contribution she has done in the last year and perform for the team,” said Maroof.

Please share this news

Check Also

Tech Mahindra soars on partnering with Surance.io

Tech Mahindra is currently trading at Rs. 1278.00, up by 18.15 points or 1.44% from …