All-rounder Doolan in frame for semis spot
The White Ferns are contemplating using four spinners as they look to put some unfamiliar pressure on England in tonight's women's Twenty20 cricket World Cup semifinal in Colombo.
New Zealand captain Suzie Bates is expecting the Premadasa Stadium wicket to be slower than the one they encountered in Galle for the pool matches, which could mean a callup for offspinning allrounder Lucy Doolan.
The Kiwis used three spinners - Erin Bermingham, Morna Neilsen and allrounder Frankie Mackay - to good effect in the group stages and may go further against the New Zealand cricket grain with another slow bowler, as they attempt to knock over the tournament favourites and exact some revenge for their 2009 World Cup final defeat at Lord's.
''We're not sure if it will be a fresh track but we are expecting it to take a bit more turn and maybe not be as batter-friendly,'' Bates said from Colombo last night.
''We'll have a look at the wicket but we might decide to play Lucy. She's played in World Cup finals and performed at this level so we'd be confident if she did step in.''
A batter would have to make way but Doolan has opened at international level before so they wouldn't be losing a lot of firepower.
Bates acknowledged New Zealand hadn't exactly set the tournament alight with a surprise loss to the West Indies and wins over women's minnows South Africa and Sri Lanka in pool play, while England have been dominant, and disposed of Australia by seven wickets.
But the Kiwis know they have the tools to beat England.
''They're the No 1 side in the world at the moment and we haven't done that well against them in the last 12 months,'' Bates said, ''but we're excited, it's a one-off game and all the pressure is on them. We're the underdogs.''
Much will hinge on the bigger hitters such as Bates and Sophie Devine at the top, while the skipper is demanding an improved bowling and fielding display.
England's strength may also be their weakness.
Their outstanding top three - captain Charlotte Edwards, Laura Marsh and wicketkeeper Sarah Taylor - has been so dominant the middle order players have barely stepped outside the dressing room when England have been batting. Not that Edwards appears too fussed, should they find themselves under pressure.
''All of them have been training hard, it's not as if they're rusty.''
The match starts at 10pm tonight (NZT). Australia and the West Indies meet in the other semifinal, tomorrow.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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