The New Zealand women’s cricketers chose the perfect time to strike top form.
They overwhelmed England and won by eight wickets with 49 balls remaining to wrap up the T20 cricket bronze medal.
Ironically, just three days earlier New Zealand turned in a miserable performance in pool play against England, scoring just 71-9 and being beaten in quick time.
The turnaround was dramatic, though the New Zealanders’ improved performance against the crack Australian team in the semi-finals hinted that good times might be coming.
England, who have been a consistently good team in recent years, came unstuck against good bowling by the consistent Hayley Jensen, who took 3-24, and Sophie Devine, who had 2-11 off three overs. Amelia Kerr, 1-22, and Fran Jonas, also bowled well.
For England, Nat Scriver made 27 and Amy Jones 26, but no-one was able to go on and make a big score.
When New Zealand batted, Devine led from the front. She scored 51 not out off 40 balls to maintain her consistently good form during the tournament. Suzie Bates smashed 20 off 10 balls and Amelia Kerr finished off the game with 21 off 15.
It was a comprehensive performance that stunned local fans.
New Zealand captain Devine said she was very proud of the effort.
“We played our best when it mattered most,” she said. “We didn’t play so well in the World Cup at home, and we got dealt to by England a couple of days ago, but we pushed Australia to the last over and have now backed that up the next day.
“It shows real heart and character from the group, and that’ll hold us in really good stead going forward.”
She said the team had been lacking some self-belief, so it felt good to knock down some of the best players a peg or two.
Devine said she was excited about the potential in the team. “You’ve got Fran Jonas, whose growth in her game has been unbelievable, and Georgia Plimmer, Eden Carson, Izzy Gaze…
“We’ve all still got a lot to learn, but it feels good to be moving in the right direction. We just need to be consistent day in day out.”Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games