Left frame: Amy Satterthwaite (left) and Suzie Bates will play key roles towards New Zealand   s performance in the upcoming World Cup. Right frame: Amelia Kerr, the teenage leg-spinner    Getty Images
Left frame: Amy Satterthwaite (left) and Suzie Bates will play key roles towards New Zealand s performance in the upcoming World Cup. Right frame: Amelia Kerr, the teenage leg-spinner Getty Images

Suzie Bates will lead a strong New Zealand team into the eleventh edition of the ICC Women s World Cup in England. Bates, who was part of the 2009 World Cup and led the team in the 2013 edition as well, will go into her third World Cup with high expectations, hoping to add to New Zealand s only World Cup triumph in 2000.

All-rounder Sophie Devine and off-spinner Leigh Kasperek return to the squad after extended injury breaks. Devine, who dislocated her thumb in January during the Women s Big Bash League in Australia, has recovered successfully; while Kasperek, who suffered from multiple finger fractures during the T20I series against Australia in February, underwent surgery to return in time for the World Cup. Fast bowler Hannah Rowe, who last played international cricket in November, has also been included in the team.

Bates will be the backbone of a power packed batting line-up that includes Rachel Priest, Amy Satterthwaite, Devine, Katey Martin, and Katie Perkins. They will be complemented by the all-round skills of Maddy Green, Anna Peterson and Thamsyn Newton.

Lea Tahuhu, their tear-away fast bowler, and Holly Huddleston will lead the New Zealand attack. Devine, Rowe and Newton complete the fast-bowling contingent while Kasperek, Amelia Kerr, Erin Bermingham, Peterson and Green are the spinners in the squad.

Previous World Cups

New Zealand are the perennial bridesmaids of world events. Across ten editions of the 50-over World Cup they have reached the final four times, winning only once in 2000, finishing runners-up thrice 1993, 1997 and 2009.

In the 74 World Cup matches that they have played between 1973 and 2013, they have a win-loss record of 48-23.

In 2013, New Zealand finished fourth. They beat South Africa and Pakistan in the league stage to reach the Super Sixes where they lost 2 of their 3 matches to England and West Indies. In the third-place playoff they ran into an inspired Charlotte Edwards whose unbeaten 106 helped England overhaul New Zealand s target of 221.

Recent form

Having finished in the top four of the ICC Women s Championship, New Zealand automatically qualified for the World Cup. In the last few months, since their tour of South Africa in October, New Zealand won 11 of their 15 ODIs. In this period Satterthwaite was their most prolific run-getter with 935 runs at an average of 103.88 including 4 hundreds and 4 fifties, and Huddleston was the wrecker-in-chief with the ball, picking up 22 wickets.

New Zealand played their most recent ODI series against Australia between February 26 and March 6 this year. After successfully chasing 276 in the first match on the back of Satterthwaite s fourth consecutive ODI century, Bates team lost the next 2 matches to concede the Rose Bowl series 2-1.

Strengths

New Zealand has one of the most settled, experienced and explosive top orders going into the World Cup. The core of their batting line-up Bates, Priest, Satterthwaite, Devine, Martin and Perkins have played a total of 465 ODIs and scored 11,451 runs combined.

At the top of the order, Bates and Priest form one of the most feared opening combinations on the women s circuit. With their reputation to go after the bowling and strike rates close to 80, they often get New Zealand off to rapid starts. At No. 3 is Satterthwaite, in the middle of a purple patch, having dominated the latter half of 2016-17.

Devine s ability to clear the boundary with ease and her growing stature with the bat means opposition bowlers have no respite. In the lower-middle order, Martin and Perkins can provide additional impetus to the innings with their inventiveness and rapid running between the wickets.

Key Players

With 3,492 runs in 98 matches and an average of 41.08, Suzie Bates is the best batter in the side. An opening batter, Bates is known for her aggressive play at the top of the order. She enjoys taking on fast bowlers, and has no fear of going over the top. While she may not be the most technically correct batter on the circuit right now, her hand-eye coordination, decisive footwork and sheer power make up more any technical deficiency she may have.

Although New Zealand have a strong batting order, Bates contributions will likely play a vital role in their campaign. In 2009, she played a significant part in her team s road to the final smashing a 105-ball 168 against Pakistan and picking up career-best figures of 4 for 7 against South Africa in a group match. Though New Zealand finished fourth in 2013, Bates was named Player of the Tournament with 407 runs in the event.

Bates skills with the ball will also be useful in England. With 72 wickets she is a more-than-useful medium-pacer. She has a good repertoire of slower balls and can rush through her overs in the middle of the innings.

In 2016 Bates bagged both the ICC Women s ODI and T20I Player of the Year awards. She is currently No. 4 in the ICC rankings for ODI batters.

In her last 18 innings the left-handed Amy Satterthwaite has scored 1,051 runs at an average of 87.58 and strike rate of 92.7. She is in the middle of a purple patch, having smashed 4 consecutive centuries and narrowly missing the fifth when she was dismissed for 85 against Australia in the second match of the 2017 Rose Bowl series.

Previously floated up and down the order, she has established herself as New Zealand s perfect No. 3. She can both anchor the innings and accelerate when required, and in recent times, has found a way to convert her starts into more significant scores.

One to Watch

Amelia Kerr, the 16-year-old leg-spinner, is set to become the youngest New Zealand player to make an appearance in the World Cup. Having made her ODI debut against Pakistan in November last year, Kerr has impressed one and all with her control and wicket-taking ability. In 7 ODIs she has taken 10 wickets at an average of 22.90 and an astonishing economy rate of 3.89.

It s really exciting to have Amelia in the squad, said Haidee Tiffen, New Zealand coach. She s proved herself more than ready for the big stage.

Expectations

New Zealand will go into the 2017 World Cup as one of the favourites. Their recent form is evidence enough of how dangerous a side they can be. Packed with explosive batters, wicket-taking bowlers, and more-than-useful all-rounders, they will be one of the teams to beat in the eleventh edition of the mega event.

It s going to be the most competitive World Cup ever, said Bates. We know we ll have to be on the ball from game one if we want to earn the right to contest the finals. I do think we have the team that can win the World Cup. I d be really disappointed if we didn t make the semis, but the goal is to win, she added.

Squad: Suzie Bates (c), Amy Satterthwaite (vc), Rachel Priest (wk), Erin Bermingham, Sophie Devine, Maddy Green, Holly Huddleston, Leigh Kasperek, Amelia Kerr, Katey Martin, Thamsyn Newton, Katie Perkins, Anna Peterson, Hannah Rowe, Lea Tahuhu.

New Zealand s fixtures

June 24: v Sri Lanka, Bristol

June 28: v South Africa, Derby

July 2: v Australia, Bristol

July 6: v West Indies, Taunton

July 8: v Pakistan, Taunton

July 12: v England, Derby

July 15: v India, Derby