Before the start of the series, both teams have some questions and uncertainties that they need to figure out. For the hosts and number one ranked side, the opening combination remains unknown. Regular ODI opener Nicole Bolton has taken an indefinite leave from cricket, due to personal reasons, leaving her spot at the top of the order vacant. Lanning has suggested either vice-captain Rachael Haynes or Beth Mooney will assume the position, along with Alyssa Healy, given both have occupied the role before.
As for the Kiwis, they will be without their head coach Haidee Tiffen. After a "confronting" review of New Zealand's recent campaigns, Tiffen has taken a leave of absence, with Bob Carter stepping in as the interim coach. However, skipper Satterthwaite is determined not to let this setback affect the teams morale and performance, asserting, "it's only a disruption if you let it be."
For Australia, Healy and Ellyse Perry have been in formidable form with the bat. If those two continue playing the way they are, they will be a major threat to their opponents. With the ball, Megan Schutt has been a gun bowler for her side and New Zealand will be wary of the danger she poses opening with the ball and taking wickets at the start. Georgia Wareham, the young leg-spinner will also be a key component of Australia's spin attack, that will look to bamboozle the rival line-up and reinforce their sides position as the top-ranked in the format.
As for New Zealand, the experience of Suzie Bates, Sophie Devine and Satterthwaite will be the key to their success. In the past, the Kiwis have been guilty of catastrophic collapses, which they have tried to overcome by changing their line-up a bit and making it deeper. Lauren Down has been given a chance at top of the order and if the change works for New Zealand, it can end their collapsing woes.
New Zealand also have a bowling attack to match that of their opponents, boasting Lea Tahuhu among their ranks, currently one of the fastest bowlers in women's cricket. They have the perfect reply to Wareham too, in their teenage leg-spin sensation Amelia Kerr. On paper, the two sides seem closely matched, promising an exciting series.
Point of Contention
The Rose Bowl trophy is at stake. It's been almost two decades since New Zealand won an ODI series against Australia, their last victory coming in 1999. Australia have held the Rose Bowl trophy since 2000. While Lanning's side will be determined to keep the record as it is, they will find in New Zealand a tough opposition, that is coming into the series with a point to prove.
New Zealand's ICC Women's Championship campaign got off to a triumphant start with a series win against Pakistan, then a whitewash of the Windies. Recently however, they lost to England, before being whitewashed by India on home soil. So, they come into the series wounded and eager for redemption. Claiming the Rose Bowl series will be the ultimate testament of their hard work, proving they have learnt from their mistakes and improved.
Along with the Rose Bowl trophy, points for the ICC ODI Women's Championship are also at stake. Australia currently lead, with 16 points to their name. Two points behind them are New Zealand, occupying second place. A series win will hand Australia a massive lead over all other sides, while the same for New Zealand can see them potentially go to the top.
Australia: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Nicola Carey, Lauren Cheatle, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Elyse Villani, Georgia Wareham
New Zealand: Amy Satterthwaite (c), Suzie Bates, Lauren Down, Maddy Green, Hayley Jensen, Leigh Kasperek, Amelia Kerr, Rosemary Mair, Katey Martin, Katie Perkins, Anna Peterson, Hannah Rowe, Lea Tahuhu