World Cup 2022: SWOT Analysis of New Zealand Women’s Team

The 2022 edition of the Women’s World Cup is scheduled to begin on 4th March 2022. Being held in New Zealand for the third time, the marquee event in the women’s calendar will consist of 31 matches culminating in the finals on April 3rd at Christchurch. 

 

New Zealand beat India by 18 Runs in one-off T20I, Lea Tahuhu awarded Player of the Match. PC: ICC/Twitter
New Zealand beat India by 18 Runs in one-off T20I, Lea Tahuhu awarded Player of the Match. PC: ICC/Twitter

 

There are a total of 8 teams participating in the tournament. Australia, England, South Africa and India obtained a direct entry to the tournament alongwith the host New Zealand. With the Qualifier for the tournament cancelled mid-way last year, the final 3 spots were determined through the ODI rankings at the end of the league, which meant that Bangladesh, Pakistan and West Indies made the cut.

The 8 teams will be playing each other once in a round-robin format and the top four teams will advance to the knockouts. 

New Zealand crashed out of the group stage in the last World Cup after bundling out for 79 in their last encounter against India, in what was a must-win by a fair margin. After their triumph against Pakistan in the UAE and against West Indies at home, they lost to England, India and Australia, ending up in a lowly sixth position in the Women’s Championship below Pakistan. Their misfortunes continued as they lost against Australia in 2 more series and against England in 2 separate series, while also losing to South Africa at home. They won their last series against India at home, which may seem like the perfect time for them to get back to their winning ways. Their record since the last World Cup has been as follows: 

 

Amy Satterthwaite in action during ODI series against England. PC: Twitter
Amy Satterthwaite in action during ODI series against England. PC: Twitter

 

Played Won Lost Tied/No Result Win %
New Zealand 40 17 23 42.50%

In essence, New Zealand have had a worse success rate in this period than teams like Australia, England, South Africa and India.

New Zealand have announced a 16-member squad for the tournament:

Main Squad: Sophie Devine (captain), Amy Satterthwaite, Suzie Bates, Georgia Plimmer, Maddy Green, Brooke Halliday, Hayley Jensen, Fran Jonas, Jess Kerr, Amelia Kerr, Frankie Mackay, Rosemary Mair, Katey Martin, Hannah Rowe, Lea Tahuhu

Reserve Player: Molly Penfold

New Zealand have curiously left out veteran off-spinner Leigh Kasperek for the World Cup citing the need to balance the squad with extra batters. A more recent development has been the exclusion of Lauren Down due to a thumb injury that she suffered in the final game against India before the World Cup. She has been replaced by the uncapped 18-year-old Georgia Plimmer. On the same day, Molly Penfold was added as a reserve.

Strengths

  • Good Mix of Youth & Experience:

Coming into the tournament, New Zealand have the services of their experienced trio of Sophie Devine, Suzie Bates and Amy Satterthwaite at their disposal. All of them have played 120+ games each. Katey Martin, the wicket-keeper, has also featured in 96 ODIs till date. Lea Tahuhu has shouldered the bowling responsibility for the team. All of them have had a long career and records to help them guide the team and its youngsters. The following table shows their illustrious career:

Also Read:  2022 Women’s Cricket World Cup: Schedule for Warm-Up Matches 

 

Player Matches Runs 100s Batting Average Wickets Bowling Average
Amy Satterthwaite 138 4464 7 38.81 47 30.59
Suzie Bates 135 4790 11 40.94 75 33.17
Sophie Devine 121 2918 5 30.08 86 36.76
Katey Martin 96 1644 21.63
Lea Tahuhu 77 309 9.36 83 31.44

 

Apart from these 4 players, none of the squad members have played in excess of 50 ODIs. However, many of the young players like the Kerr sisters (Amelia & Jess Kerr), Maddy Green, Brook Halliday, Hannah Rowe and Frankie Mackay have been quite a regular in the set-up and now have established themselves in their role.

  • Versatile Bowling Attack:

New Zealand have selected a very versatile bowling attack for the World Cup. Lea Tahuhu is a premier fast bowler who is currently the backbone of the bowling attack. She will be supported by fellow pacers Hannah Rowe, Rosemary Mair and Jess Kerr. There is also a variety in the spin department which could be handy for the tournament. Fran Jonas is a left-arm spinner whereas Amelia Kerr is a leg-spinner and Frankie Mackay is an off-spinner. The spinners can be included in the playing XI as per the playing conditions. 

  • Strong All-Rounders:

The hosts will also be bolstered by a good crop of all-rounders to choose from. Leading from the front, Sophie Devine forms the core of the batting with the ability to bat big and long. She is also a good pacer who bowls regularly in ODIs. Amelia Kerr is a wonderful batter who, in the most recent series against India, came to bat in very critical situations and lifted the team with her strokeplay. With 67 wickets in her short career, including a five-for, she is a key spinner in the side. Lea Tahuhu is a premier fast-bowler but has been promoted up the order at times. Amy Satterthwaite can also fill in a few overs if the need arises. Fran Jonas, the young left-arm spinner, can bat in any slot, lending flexibility in the batting department. 

Weaknesses

  • Dependence on the Top-Order:

New Zealand has been very dependent on their captain, Sophie Devine and the experienced Suzie Bates and Amy Satterthwaite to provide a good foundation to their batting. There have been many instances when the three have collectively failed, which has hurt them badly. In the middle order, only Amelia Kerr has been known to hold the innings together. The combination of Brooke Halliday, Maddy Green and Hayley Jensen have not proven to be very successful with the bat. To add to their woes, Lauren Down has been injured and is forced to be replaced with the uncapped Georgia Plimmer, making the middle-order look more fragile.  

  • Poor Success Rate:

New Zealand has had a poor success rate in the recent times over the last few years. This has led to self-doubt as they seek to win the trophy on home soil. They have failed against the top teams like Australia, England and South Africa, conceding all the series that they have played against them. Even India had beaten them at home in 2018. If they are to progress to the knockouts, they need to beat a few of these teams in the group stage. Even if they do get there, they would have to beat two of those teams again to win the trophy – one in the semis and one in the final, which will be a tough ask for them.

Also Read:  Top 5: Leading Run Scorers of Women’s ODI Cricket World Cup

Opportunities

  • Knowledge of Conditions:

One of the biggest reasons why New Zealand will be the biggest threat for the other teams is that they are hosting the World Cup. Being the hosts of the tournament, New Zealand will know the conditions and the pitches better than anyone else. In such cases, they will be able to exploit the conditions in the maximum possible way and will be able to tailor their strategy based on the knowledge of these conditions. They will know fairly well what a defendable score on the tracks would be and how best they can chase down targets that have been set for them.

  • Horses-for-Courses Selection:

The presence of skilled all-rounders and the knowledge of the conditions will make it easy for them to adopt a Horses-for-Courses selection of the playing XI depending on the conditions that they encounter throughout the World Cup. They will have a choice to play extra batters or extra bowlers depending on the need of the hour. They will also be able to choose whether they want to play with 2 spinners or stick to only 1 spinner and 4 pacers. They can even choose the type of spinners that may be the most useful for the conditions. 

Threats

  • Relative Strengths of Other Teams:

Earlier, New Zealand was a certainty to make it to the knockouts of global events considering other teams barring Australia and England were not very competitive in women’s cricket. However, the situation is very different now. Australia and England have continued their dominance in world cricket but teams like India and South Africa have improved to an extent that they have had better success rates than that of New Zealand now. This will make the fight for the spots for the semis very challenging. New Zealand will have to bring their A-game into the tournament to make it to the knockouts.

The World Cup kicks off on March 4th with New Zealand taking on West Indies in Mount Mounganui.

Follow Female Cricket on Instagram and Twitter for all the latest news and updates around Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022

Liked the story? Leave a comment here