White Ferns knocked out of T20 World Cup
White Ferns captain Suzie Bates has laid the blame for their Twenty20 World Cup semifinal exit squarely on the failure to adapt quickly enough to the incredibly slow wicket at Colombo's Premadasa Stadium.
New Zealand started digging themselves a hole in the first over and never really stopped as they were felled by England this morning (NZ time).
In a match that hardly got the pulse racing, New Zealand could muster just 93-8 from their 20 overs and were unable to put the same pressure on as England had applied to them with the ball.
The tournament favourites comfortably reached the target for the loss of three wickets with 16 balls remaining, taking their Twenty20 record against the Kiwis to 10 wins and three losses.
It was also their 25th win from their last 26 matches, and they will enter the final against either Australia or the West Indies as warm favourites.
"We didn't really adapt to the conditions as well as we would have liked," Bates said.
"I think if we'd got anything near 110 then we would have been in there right to the end. If we had got 120 I think it would have been a winning score.
"It was just really tough to hit boundaries outside of the first six. I think we were 20-30 runs short."
New Zealand had been confident of an upset in Colombo and they planned to pile the pressure on with spin as a fourth spinner, Lucy Doolan, came into the XI for batter Katie Perkins.
But they didn't get anywhere near enough runs for the bowlers to have a realistic chance. Having been sent in, New Zealand made a dreadful start when Bates ran herself out for a duck in the first over, and it only got worse from there.
"It was unfortunate the way I went out at the start and there was dot-ball pressure," said Bates. "We just took too long to get going. I thought we batted really well in the middle but it was such a slow start that it was always hard to catch up."
New Zealand's other main strike weapon, Sophie Devine, also went softly, hitting offspinner Danielle Wyatt straight down deep mid-wicket's throat having made 11.
That left the Kiwis 17-2 in the sixth over and they never recovered.
Wickets were lost at regular intervals and the run-rate failed to get above five runs per over at any stage as the batters struggled with England's own four-pronged spin attack on what was a slow turner at the Premadasa Stadium.
When they did manage to get a big shot away, the ball invariably found the outfielders, and England were sharp in the field.
At 38-2 after 10 overs, New Zealand looked as though they should push past 100 but they couldn't get themselves in a position to charge. Opener Amy Satterthwaite was their best bet but having got herself to 30, she lofted left-arm spinner Holly Colvin directly to long on.
Impressive legspinner Erin Bermingham (1-18 from three) dismissed the classy English captain Charlotte Edwards for 33 with 40 runs still required, but the world's top-ranked batter, Sarah Taylor (21 not out), and Lydia Greenway (22) guided England home.
The Kiwis didn't always help themselves, offspinner Frankie Mackay having Taylor stumped off a no-ball when 18 runs were required from 28 balls.
"The bowlers did a god job, if we'd had a few more runs it could've been really tight," Bates said.