Schedule of the White Ferns' Northern Tour
Key Players for the White Ferns:
The New Zealand skipper, Suzie Bates, plays a pivotal role in the batting line-up of the White Ferns, opening the batting. She has the ability to morph herself into either a hard-hitter who can smash the ball to any part of the ground with ease, or anchor the innings and play a supporting role. She poses a great threat to any bowling line-up.
Devine, who has been in ominous form since being given the responsibility of opening the batting- on the other end; these two alone can take the game away from the opposition. To make the batting line-up even more formidable is Amy Satterthwaite, who smashed four consecutive international centuries last year!
But New Zealand’s strength does not lie in their batting alone. They have wily young leg-spinner Amelia Kerr in their squad as well as off-spinner Leigh Kasperek, who both have an uncanny ability to take wickets at the most crucial of moments and can place the pressure on any opposition by stifling them for runs. Experienced seamers in the squad, Lea Tahuhu and Holly Huddleston make sure the bowling attack is well-rounded and one of their opponents fear to face.
Key Players for Ireland:
Ireland will rely on the experience as well as the skill of veteran players such as Isobel Joyce and skipper Laura Delany to lead the team from the front and inspire it, as they- themselves 10th ranked- look to cause a major upset by claiming a victory over the White Ferns, who currently are at number three.
From a bowling point of view, young seamer Kim Garth, who also plays for the Sydney Sixers in the WBBL, will play a major role, as will emerging leg break bowler Gaby Lewis.
This series is immensely important for both New Zealand and Ireland, as both teams have major series’ coming up after this one as well.
New Zealand Team Preview for the Ireland series
For the White Ferns:
The White Ferns will look at this series as an opportunity to gain form, as well as momentum ahead of their tri-series against England and South Africa, following this series. The T20 match of this series and the tri-series will help New Zealand identify problematic areas and work on improving them ahead of the T20 World Cup in November of this year.
The series will also help the New Zealand players brush off some rustiness as this will be their first international series after their off-season and they will need to be well-prepared for their ODI series against England, which follows the tri-series, as invaluable ICC Women’s Championship Points will be up for grabs. The White Ferns are currently in the lead and will want to maintain it.
Ireland Team Preview for the New Zealand series
This series gives Ireland the perfect opportunity to analyse where its shortcomings lie and how to improve on them, as almost immediately after it, the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifiers for the T20 World Cup are set to begin. Ireland will want to put forth the best team that they know will deliver, to make the tournament a success for them and ensure they participate in the T20 World Cup. This series will go a long way in helping them pinpoint key areas.
Ireland: Laura Delany (C), Rachel Delaney, Kim Garth, Cecelia Joyce, Isobel Joyce, Shauna Kavanagh, Amy Kenealy, Gaby Lewis, Lara Maritz, Cara Murray, Clare Shillington, Mary Waldron
New Zealand: Suzie Bates (c), Bernadine Bezuidenhout, Sophie Devine, Kate Ebrahim, Maddy Green, Holly Huddleston, Hayley Jensen, Leigh Kasperek, Amelia Kerr, Katey Martin, Anna Peterson, Hannah Rowe, Amy Satterthwaite, Lea Tahuhu, Jess Watkin.