Shane Bond's influence a boost for White Ferns
Shane Bond's significant influence on New Zealand cricket has extended to the national women's team.
White Ferns captain Suzie Bates is crediting Bond with improving their consistency with the ball, as they eye a semifinal at the women's Twenty20 World Cup.
Bates said Bond, the successful former Black Caps fast bowler who is now plying his trade as a bowling coach, had brought "fresh ideas" to the Ferns who, after an early stumble against the West Indies, are through to the final four following wins against women's minnows South Africa and hosts Sri Lanka.
Bond is on a short-term contract with NZ Cricket as White Ferns bowling coach and is in Sri Lanka with the team.
"We wanted to address the issue of inconsistency with the ball,” Bates said.
"After an off day with the ball against West Indies, as a side we've picked ourselves up which is a very good sign. I think the fresh ideas Shane Bond has brought in have given us a completely new dimension and we're a better equipped side now.”
However, a significant rise in the quality of the opposition awaits the Ferns.
An eight-wicket thrashing of the hosts in Galle yesterday was enough for New Zealand to book a spot in the semifinals as second qualifiers out of group B, behind the West Indies, but it hardly gave an indication of how this team stacks up against the big girls.
That will come in Thursday's semifinal in Colombo, where they will play either Australia or England, the two winners of the first two Twenty20 World Cups.
The two heavy-hitters were to meet in the final group A match overnight, the winner to play New Zealand and the loser to play the West Indies. Either way, New Zealand will have to raise their game if they want to go one better than the first two World Cups, where they were runners-up, something Bates acknowledged.
"In the previous two editions, we breezed into the tournament . . . but here we were given a tough start,” she said.
"We had to really improve, to say we weren't challenged would be wrong . . . but I think we've just got to keep it simple and play quality cricket . . . If we do that, we'll get the right results."
The Ferns were not really tested in their must-win group match against Sri Lanka, who could muster only 89 all out, extras top-scoring with 19.
The wickets were shared, with Morna Nielsen's 2-10 from four overs the pick. The visitors completed the chase in convincing fashion, bringing up victory with 26 balls to spare for the loss of two wickets.