Tight turnaround for White Ferns after Commonwealth Games semifinal defeat


White Ferns opener Suzie Bates was dismissed for a golden duck during her side’s loss to Australia at the Commonwealth Games.

Aijaz Rahi/AP

White Ferns opener Suzie Bates was dismissed for a golden duck during her side’s loss to Australia at the Commonwealth Games.

At Edgbaston, Birmingham: White Ferns 144-7 (Sophie Devine 53 offf 48, Melie Kerr 40 off 36; Megan Schutt 3-20) lost to Australia 145-5 in 19.3 overs (Tahlia McGrath 34 off 23, Beth Mooney 32 off 26; Lea Tahuhu 3-20) by five wickets

The White Ferns have just over 12 hours to lick their wounds and prepare for a bronze medal match against England at the Commonwealth Games.

After being embarrassed the last time they played the hosts at Birmingham 2022, in their final group stage match, they offered plenty more fight in their Twenty20 cricket semifinal against Australia on Saturday.

But the total of 144-7 they posted after being sent in at Edgbaston always looked like it was short of being truly imposing.

The reigning T20 world champions proved that was the case when they chased it down with five wickets in hand and three balls to spare, benefiting from a series of costly dropped catches and a missed stumping along the way.

One of the beauties of cricket’s return to the Commonwealth Games after a 24-year absence is that there is a second chance for the losing semifinalists in the form of the playoff for bronze.

But for the White Ferns, who played in the later of the two semifinals, getting ready to go again involves a tight turnaround, between the final ball they bowled to Australia – at 8.57pm local time – and the first they will either bowl or face against England – at 10am local time on Sunday [9pm NZ time].

A win against an England side that will be hurting after a four-run loss to India in the early semifinal is far from beyond them, but they need to turn in their best performance yet, against a team they have beaten in T20s just twice in the past decade.

Sophie Devine and Melie Kerr led the way for the White Ferns with the bat after Suzie Bates fell for a golden duck, making 53 off 48 and 40 off 36 respectively, but fell at the end of the 16th and 17th overs with work still to be done.

Teenager Georgia Plimmer played with positive intent as she made 17 off 16 batting at No 3 in her international debut while Brooke Halliday added 16 off 10.

White Ferns seamer Lea Tahuhu celebrates one of her three wickets against Australia at the Commonwealth Games.

Aijaz Rahi/AP

White Ferns seamer Lea Tahuhu celebrates one of her three wickets against Australia at the Commonwealth Games.

Lea Tahuhu had two catches dropped off her bowling inside the power play – Meg Lanning by Kerr as she faced her first ball and Beth Mooney by wicketkeeper Izzy Gaze when she was on six off six – but removed Alyssa Healy, caught by Gaze and ultimately got Lanning too, clean bowled for seven.

After six overs Australia were 40-2 and the White Ferns needed to keep taking wickets to keep the pressure on, but could only manage another drop – by Hannah Rowe of Tahlia McGrath when she was on 14 – by the halfway stage.

Kerr pulled off a fine run out in conjunction with Gaze in the 11th over to send McGrath on her way for 34 off 23, while Rowe made amends the second time she was offered a chance, taking a catch in the deep to remove Mooney for 32 off 26 and give Tahuhu a third wicket.

Devine made the final breakthrough, sending Rachael Haynes on her way for 19 off 18 in the 17th over, shortly after she should have been stumped, but the batters kept on coming for the well-stocked world champions, who will now play India for women’s cricket’s inaugural Commonwealth Games gold medal.

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