The similarities between Aotearoa's Blackcaps and White Ferns is extremely weird at the moment and while they were both torched by India to lose the series, the kiwis then went on to win their next games with the series already wrapped up. For the White Ferns this meant losing the first two games by rather hefty margins and then winning the third ODI on Friday, to ensure that they didn't get swept.
How you judge this victory or the White Ferns is a niggly task as they had not only already lost the series, they had done so in such fashion that a clear gap between the two teams had emerged. For what it's worth, India used the same 11 they had in the previous two game and their were no shenanigans with their batting line up either.
Anna Peterson's spin took 4w @ 2.80rpo in 10ov and fellow spinners Leigh Kasperek and Amelia Kerr ripped through the middle order, India were all out for 149 batting first. Lea Tahuhu took 3w @ 2.88rpo in 9ov, with 2w coming as she wrapped up the tail order batswomen. White Ferns spin accounted for 6w of the top-7 and Peterson's 4w saw her finish as the best kiwi bowler from this series; 5w @ 10.80avg/3.60rpo.
For the White Ferns, there was the odd move of replacing Maddy Green with Katie Perkins. Odd in the sense that usually it's the other way round as the veteran gets replaced by the youngster when the series has already been decided. While I highlighted Green's struggles last time, bringing in the veteran to replace her at this stage of the series seems like a bit of a waste and there would have been more to gain in letting Green do something in this final ODI.
There was also a re-shuffle of the batting line up for the kiwis with Lauren Down moving up to open and Sophie Devine taking the #4 spot. The Perkins inclusion didn't end up having any impact on the game as the White Ferns leaders took responsibility for the run-chase with Suzie Bates hitting 57 off 64, Amy Satterthwaite 66* off 74 and Devine not out on 17 off 19.
I'm still eager to see others aside from the big-three perform and especially when Bates, Devine and Satterthwaite don't manage any runs, however it's merely nice to get a win, regardless of how it came. This creates a vibe of the White Ferns losing because the best teams in the world identify Bates, Devine and Satterthwaite as key wickets and no one else in the team can fill that void. When the big-three do score runs, the Ferns tend to win but that level of pressure is huge and isn't a sustainable method of success.
Having put the focus on Green and Kerr in the middle order, now it's Lauren Down who finishes the series in the same category as Green and Kerr. All three are young kiwi cricketers, who will most likely play key roles in the national team moving forward, yet all three have been unable to make any waves against notable opposition. Down finished with 25 runs for the series, averaging 8.33 and this little comparison below for all three, tells the 'lack of big-three support' story...
Down (25yrs): 11, 3, 0, 15, 10.
Green (26yrs): 21, 20, 23, 10, 9.
Kerr (18yrs): 8, 5, 12*, 28, 1.
One day these young players will come good and roll out steady contributions. Right now however, this shows how big the jump from domestic cricket to international cricket is for young players. While these young players can build confidence against weaker nations, coming up against the world's best is a different story though and this is the key area of development that requires attention.
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Peace and love 27.