Ahead of the final, the two sets of players talk up importance of playing a must-win game keeping in mind the World T20 later in the year.
As the anticipation builds up for the Women's Twenty20 International triangular series final, between England and New Zealand in Chelmsford on Sunday, both sets of players were hoping to put their best foot forward keeping in mind the ICC Women's World T20 in November in the Caribbean.
“It’s good practice for us to have a one-off final,” said Natalie Sciver, the England all-rounder. “The World T20 is just around the corner, so the chance to expose ourselves to pressure situations is really important.”
Tammy Beaumont, who is leading the run‑scorers’ chart, agreed, saying, “That it’s a one-off game that we have to win is really good preparation. If you’ve got a three-match series you don’t have the same must‑win pressure. It’s really important to practice that ahead of a world tournament.”
Having won three of their four matches – the only loss came against South Africa, who have been eliminated – England are cock-a-hoop about their chances, especially with the bowlers firing as a unit.
“We’ve played some really good T20 cricket across this series. Now it’s just about adding consistency to our game and doing it more regularly,” said Sciver. “What’s really pleasing is that we’ve produced some really good bowling performances as well as impressing with the bat. We need different ways to win games, so it’s been encouraging that the bowlers have performed so well.”
New Zealand will start the final on the back foot, having lost both their games against England, though they beat South Africa convincingly on both occasions.
“They are a very good side,” Katey Martin, the New Zealand wicket-keeper, said of the 50-over world champions. “They are consistent in their bowling and you know it's for us to go in with a really good team but we're not lacking in any confidence from the performances that we've had. You know, we're just slightly off and tomorrow we're going to go in with a great lot of confidence.”
Like the Englishwomen, Martin stressed that playing a must-win game will help the New Zealanders. “It is great to be playing under pressure situations against world-class teams and, obviously, these girls are world champs in the 50-over game, so I think it's a good chance for us to try ourselves under pressure again tomorrow,” she said.
Echoing Martin’s thoughts was Sophie Devine, New Zealand’s star all-rounder. “I think it's great. I think we're going to go out there and step up in these big pressure games,” she said. “The more we can play, it will be better. So it's a great opportunity for us to get out there, put people under the pump and hopefully we can learn to perform under the high pressure.”