Cricket: Bates hoping to go one better

By Kris Shannon

New Zealand cricket captain Suzie Bates is wary of adopting a win-or-bust approach at the women's world cup in India, despite her side's history of close calls.

The White Ferns won their last one-day world cup at home in 2000 and, since then, have experienced the pain of losing three straight finals at world tournaments.

They have made the semifinals of the last four short-form showpieces, including being edged by England at the most recent one-day world cup, but Bates believed New Zealand had been lucky losers rather than ill-fated.

"I don't necessarily think so," she said, when asked if their recent record made this tournament must-win. "In the last world cup, I think we were fortunate to make the final.

"Obviously we think we can win and we're going to go to India trying to win. But there's some really good sides around the world and it's going to be about the team that can perform the most consistently."

In the past, the White Ferns have not been that side, but Bates thought a heavy diet of one-day domestic cricket and recent series against world No 1 Australia - a team they will meet in the group stage - will help their cause on this occasion.

"We've always talked about not reaching our potential and never having quite performed consistently," Bates said. "But the last seven games against Australia made me really excited about this group."

Those games included a 2-1 Twenty20 series victory in Melbourne this week and, although it came in the shorter format, New Zealand will take that momentum into their first game, against South Africa on Friday.

"It was really pleasing that we got some confidence and got into some winning form, so we can take that forward to India," Bates said.

The location is one unfamiliar to the majority of the New Zealand side, given they last played in India in 2007, but the 2012 T20 world cup in Sri Lanka means sub-continent conditions aren't entirely foreign.

New Zealand's matches were scheduled to be played in Mumbai but threats by political activist group Shiv Sena, protesting against the presence of Pakistan, have seen all group B games moved to Cuttack.

Despite the late disruption, Bates couldn't wait for the tournament to get underway.

"This is probably the most confidence we've had going into a world cup. I'm just really excited about the feeling within the team."

- APNZ

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