White Ferns giving themselves every chance of winning World Cup

Suzie Bates says the White Ferns are top contenders for next month's Cricket World Cup.
Kai Schwoerer

Suzie Bates says the White Ferns are top contenders for next month's Cricket World Cup.

There's a cricket world cup on next month, although you wouldn't know it.

The White Ferns are the no fuss, no frills team of sport in New Zealand - you don't really hear much about them even though they are ranked third in the world.

That's okay with captain Suzie Bates, as she has her head down and eyes on the prize for the Women's World Cup, starting on June 24 in London.

"I do think we have a team that can win the world cup. It will be a really closely fought tournament and I do believe we've got a side that will compete really well. I'd be really disappointed if we didn't make the semis, but the goal is to win.

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Most teams going to a world tournament say they want to win, but for the White Ferns it is an expectation of their entire squad.

"The reason we play cricket is to win world cups and no one involved in this side apart from (coach) Haidee Tiffen has been involved in a world cup win. We've gone close at times and there's been a number of players who have played in finals and semifinals.

"It would just mean the world to us as a group to know all the hard work we've put in and all the resources New Zealand Cricket has put into us recently."

"I think it's the right time for us as a group and the right time for New Zealand cricket to have inspirational female cricketers crowned as world champions."

The last time the White Ferns walked away as champions was in 2000, when Tiffen was playing. This time as coach, she wants it just as much.

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"Obviously our number one thing is, our goal is to win it. We are working hard to fulfil that dream. It's going to be the most challenging world cup that's been and we have very high expectations on ourselves."

Tiffen said it would be the toughest because the women's game had come away leaps and bounds in terms of talent. Although it still had a long way to go, when she played they would have struggled to string a team of 15 professionals.

"We've made the semis and the finals which is always a big challenge. We would love to earn the right to get in the playoff matches but first we have to get out of the pool stages."

With only eight teams at the cup, the White Ferns will play each at least once before the playoff stage.

Tiffen and Bates believe England will be strong at home, while regular foe Australia and India will be tough.

Six of her team are in England playing county cricket, which Tiffen says is good for their development. The squad will be trimmed on Tuesday from 19 to 15 before they fly out on June 9 for their training camp in Hampshire.

This year's tournament will have a doubled prize pool of US$2 million,  although Tiffen doesn't think that will be a motivator for her team.

"Fantastic what the ICC have done for women's cricket. Everyone is motivated by different factors, but as a unit we are out to hold the cup."

Bates agrees that the money is certainly a good sign for the game, but not a deciding factor when asked to wear the white fern on her chest.

"It really just means the ICC are willing to invest in the game and it shows this tournament is one of the pinnacle events. ...if we win this amount of prize money it won't make any difference to lifting the trophy and being crowned world champions. It won't be an extra driving force for us, just an extra bonus at the end if we do manage to be crowned world champs."



 - Stuff

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