White Ferns head coach Bob Carter has confirmed that their skipper Sophie Devine would continue to bat at No. 5 in the lead up to the ODI World Cup next year.
Speaking before the fourth ODI, Carter said that Devine batting in the middle-order helps them lengthen their batting in the 50-over format. “I’ve done a lot of work with the analyst team back home in Lincoln looking at how do we play at our best. I think we had put all of our eggs in one basket at the top of the order (in the past)," he said in the media interaction on Thursday (September 23).
“My big thing is that I want Sophie to bat for the last 20 overs or 30 overs. However, it pans out for us to win games along with Amy Satterthwaite, Brooke Halliday and the top three.”
Carter felt that having another left-hander in Halliday help them maintain the balance, adding, "we have still got a lot of experience there with Suzie Bates as the opener, and Amy coming in at four as a left-hander, Brooke Halliday at No.6 as a left-hander, means that Sophie can slot in there at No.5."
Earlier, Devine, too, had talked about Satterthwaite batting at No.4, followed by herself at five in a post-match press conference. Carter felt that having Devine in the middle-order helps them go ahead with the patient approach, trying to take every game to the last over.
“If we have to take it to the very last over, to the very last ball to win the game, that is what we have to do. Rather than thinking, 'oh, we have got to win this game ten overs before the game finishes'.”
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Speaking about the impressive debutant Molly Penfold in the third ODI, Carter said that the timing of her debut was perfect for New Zealand. “She couldn't have come on at a better time. She certainly paid back the faith the coaches have got in her.”
Penfold took two wickets for 42 runs in her quota of over, but it was her pace and intensity she displayed in the power play that turned heads. Picked as an injury replacement for Rosemary Mair, Penfold said that she was not expecting to play.
"I was very nervous leading into my first over. The first ten to 12 overs with Sophie and Lea (Tahuhu) (bowling), I was trying to wait it out, get my first over in and try to do the best I could."
England currently lead the five-match series 2-1, and New Zealand will have to continue the momentum in the fourth ODI to keep the series alive.