What's important is the White Ferns have started their ICC Women's Twenty20 World Cup campaign on the right note after beating Sri Lanka in Perth, Australia.

What will be more crucial is scrutinising where they can and should be better before they face India from 5pm (NZ time) at Junction Oval, Melbourne, on Thursday.

Captain Sophie Devine's bat did the trick in the seven-wicket victory over Sri Lanka, with 14 deliveries in the bank, but not as New Zealand fans have become accustomed to. It was what Devine doesn't do — flick to low gear to tick over the run rate — that put the victors in a comfortable position to seal the match.


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It's when the number of balls remaining was almost on a par with the number of runs required that the opening batsman found a sturdy platform to finish with 75 runs off 54 deliveries, including six boundaries and two sixes, in their run chase of 3-131 in 17.4 overs at the Waca on Sunday morning.

Befittingly it was Otago Sparks bowler Hayley Jensen who claimed the player-of-the-match award, after Devine had won the toss and asked Sri Lanka to pad up for 7-127 in their allotted 20 overs.

Chamari Athapaththu Jayangani departs after a soft dismissal as Katey Martin reflects but it's obvious Sri Lanka rely too heavily on their skipper to mastermind the innings. Photo / Photosport
Chamari Athapaththu Jayangani departs after a soft dismissal as Katey Martin reflects but it's obvious Sri Lanka rely too heavily on their skipper to mastermind the innings. Photo / Photosport

Captain Chamari Athapaththu Jayangani and fellow opening bats woman Hasini Perera Madushika gave them an outstanding start with 1-60 in 7.4 overs, before the latter got too cute in trying to flick a ramp shot to an Amelia Kerr googly to be out for 20 runs.
The former was world class in her 41 from 30 balls, including five boundaries and two lusty sixes. She'll, no doubt, rue going out to a soft false shot to a Lea Tahuhu caught and bowl, which was the game changer, but it was Kerr's wicket that gave Devine some respite on who to chuck the ball to.

"We knew we just had to stay patient ... so we just probably didn't bowl consistently enough to put her under pressure ... ," Devine said post-match of the damage Jayangani could have potentially done.

From a New Zealand perspective, the opening bowlers were far too loose and inconsistent. Unlike Devine, had Jayangani or Madushika switched modes to see Sri Lanka into the death overs it could have been a markedly different total and story.

Tahuhu, world cup debutante Jess Kerr, spinner Leigh Kasperek and Devine were far too erratic in their early spells.

Christchurch-born Jensen — bar an ambitious bouncer that was put away accordingly — finished with 3-16 to show a simple mantra of line and length to deny bats women the freedom to free their arms is all that was required to flip the pressure back on to Sri Lanka. In fact, Devine should consider introducing her earlier.

Devine had lauded Jensen as "fantastic", revealing that's what they wanted their bowlers to do and highlighted tweaker Kerr as someone who could turn the tide.

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Jensen, a medium pacer, had used cross seamers to dip under the bats women's eye level to make it difficult for them to put away deliveries.

"I just kept it simple," the 27-year-old said, adding she hadn't tried to stray from what was working in her first two overs.

Jensen didn't think the wicket was doing too much but the one in St Kilda, where the Kiwis will play three matches next, will be interesting although she should dismiss fanciful thoughts of bouncing strips somehow giving medium merchants a licence to behave like Black Caps seamer Neil Wagner.

New Zealand pace bowler Lea Tahuhu's expression says it all as the White Ferns looked shaky with the ball despite beating Sri Lanka during the ICC T20 World Cup in Perth. Photo / Photosport
New Zealand pace bowler Lea Tahuhu's expression says it all as the White Ferns looked shaky with the ball despite beating Sri Lanka during the ICC T20 World Cup in Perth. Photo / Photosport

"It was a little nervy at the start — as you could tell in our bowling a little bit there — but it's good to get the first win out of the way," she said in receiving her award.

Against India, coach Bob Carter will have to take a hard look at his bowling mix with Rosemary Mair and Anna Peterson as options, albeit subject to what Junction Oval offers.

Sri Lanka's lack of batting depth was glaringly obvious but that won't be the case against the likes of Australia and India.

Logic suggests four-time champions Australia and India bats women will be finding rhyme and reason in the way they go about posting a total or chasing down a target in future matches.

Worryingly Rachel Priest was sloppy behind the stumps for the Kiwis, gifting byes and failing to follow the ball, particularly when Madushika was fox trotting on the batting crease with considerable success. With Katey Martin in the line up it seems prudent to hand over the gloves to the Sparks wicketkeeper to let Priest focus on batting. In fact, Martin could be an ideal opener.

Opening bats woman Priest didn't help her case with poor running — ball watching before a pedestrian effort to slide her bat over the line to depart for six runs — from a dozen balls. Harshitha Madavi Samarawickrama ran her out.

Frankly Devine (twice) and first-drop Suzie Bates ( a lollipop at first slip when she was on single digits) were granted an extension to their lives after surviving dropped catches that would have stuck in the hands of more formidable foes.

White Fern Maddy Green brought the ideal mind set to the batting crease when things were looking a little tight against Sri Lanka. Photo / Photosport
White Fern Maddy Green brought the ideal mind set to the batting crease when things were looking a little tight against Sri Lanka. Photo / Photosport

Consequently Maddy Green — who had made a superb diving catch off a Jayangani shot but dropped it on landing — had raised the IQ of the innings with a measured knock of 29 runs from 20 balls, winning accolades from her skipper.

It was what Australia would have killed for in their 17-run loss to India in the cup opener despite Green's un-agricultural swipe on the leg side to lose her polished furniture to Jayangani. Had Devine and Bates departed cheaply Green and Martin would have felt the burden of shouldering the innings although they are capable.

Left-arm opener Udeshika Prabodhani was outstanding and unlucky not to claim a scalp in going for 16 runs from four overs, including a maiden. Regrettably for a country that is an assembly plant for spinners, Sri Lanka were disappointing in that department. They can still cause upsets but will need to improve their fielding, too.

Kasperek's boundary-sweeping fielding saved countless runs and was inspirational when the chips were down against a side they are 8-0 up in the tourney's history.

Devine, who has carved up eight half centuries in her last nine outings, agreed they were "under the pump" for a good part of the match and discipline would dramatically improve their chances of winning the cup.