Despite a 3-0 hammering at the hands of Australia in the T20I series prior to the tournament, New Zealand would have been confident of mounting a serious challenge for the ICC Women’s World T20 2018 title. But two losses at the start of their campaign has massively dented their hopes of making it out of the group stage.
The White Ferns had to face the rough end of the draw, playing India and Australia in the opening two fixtures of their Group B campaign. While Harmanpreet Kaur’s 51-ball 103 blew them away in the opener, Alyssa Healy’s onslaught and Meghan Schutt's three-for helped the former champions brush their neighbors aside by 33 runs.
The two losses now mean that their fate hangs in the balance of how the other group fixtures pan out, especially India’s clash against Ireland – the game prior to theirs’ on Thursday. An Indian victory would mean curtains for their semi-final hopes but an upset will give them a second chance at qualification. They will then need to overcome Pakistan and then beat Ireland convincingly in their final group game.
The positive from both the games was Suzie Bates and Katey Martin’s getting amongst the runs. But they weren’t backed up by the rest of the batting order; an aspect they need to rectify at the Providence Stadium against Pakistan.
Their opponents, on the other hand, have shown glimpses of brilliance in their games so far. After a one-sided affair against Australia, they showed some fight against India, with Bismah Maroof and Nida Dar scoring half-centuries to push out a competitive 133/7. India had to depend on their most experienced campaigner Mithali Raj to chase down the tricky target.
Against Ireland, Javeria Khan’s unbeaten 74 helped Pakistan script a 38-run win, keeping them in contention for the top two spots. While the bowlers have held their own, the batting form has been encouraging for the side. If both departments manage to find their rhythm on Thursday, they could prolong New Zealand’s first win and possibly extend their stay in this tournament, even beyond the group stages.
New Zealand: Amy Satterthwaite (c) Suzie Bates, Bernadine Bezuidenhout, Sophie Devine, Kate Ebrahim, Maddy Green, Holly Huddleston, Hayley Jensen, Leigh Kasperek, Amelia Kerr, Katey Martin, Anna Peterson, Hannah Rowe, Lea Tahuhu, Jess Watkin
Pakistan: Javeria Khan (c), Aiman Anwar, Aliya Riaz, Anam Amin, Ayesha Zafar, Diana Baig, Muneeba Ali Siddiqui, Nahida Khan, Nashra Sundhu, Natalia Parvaiz, Nida Dar, Omaima Sohail, Sana Mir, Sidra Amin, Sidra Nawaz