HomeCricket New ZealandWhite Ferns: The silent power of Women's cricket

White Ferns: The silent power of Women’s cricket

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To simply suggest the women’s game has been at its finest since the 2017 World Cup may not increase your knowledge a tad bit.
To suggest stars like Smriti Mandhana, Jess Jonassen, Elysse Perry, Meg Lanning, Poonam Yadav, Natalie Sciver, Heather Knight and Sana Mir are taking the contest to new heights would be stating the usual.
You’ll not gain anything new in knowing that Van Niekerk is as good at hitting brisk fifties as she’s with her leg-breaks that harangue the best in the game.
You already know that in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, the Women’s game’s got two new rising forces.

White Ferns: The silent force of women’s game

But in the brouhaha surrounding cricketers who’re also spectacular media stars, there’s also a parallel narrative to the women’s game.
It’s silently defining the contour of the sport akin to a decisive geometrical line, that even though seems thin enough to escape the human eye, completes the diagram depicting women’s cricket.
You cannot make a monument, regardless of its eventual soaring height, if you were to leave out the ground floor.
No current description of the women’s game stands complete without throwing light on the important plank formed by the presence of the White Ferns. While flashier proponents from around the world- in all due respect- lend finesse and sparkle to the monument called the Women’s game, the White Ferns are its brick and mortar.

You cannot make a house without brick and cement, can you?

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From the standpoint of their recent lashings in ODI and T20 cricket- the White Ferns- are also the fireworks defining a new age of the game- fiery, uncompromising, and purely passionate.
For the longest time, old guards- Sophie Devine, Suzie Bates, Lea Tahuhu- have served New Zealand with a commitment and silent vigil. This is a troika on whose watch New Zealand cricket is averse to mediocrity and poor showing.
In the all-round excellence of Devine, the blazing batting of an ever-smiling Bates and, the charismatic medium pace of Tahuhu, New Zealand are safe as a house under fortification.
But in the form of a newer generation of talents- the majesty of Satterthwaite, the foxiness and guile of Leigh Kasperek, and the drive of Amelia Kerr- they’ve got exuberance and sparkle.
In light of their thrashing of the West Indies and a sheer dismantling of Ireland, the White Ferns have stung their opponents showing no respite.

Doubts regarding their recent form are put to rest by a solitary statistic.

Shining on a consistency of a rare kind, they’ve won every single series since 2017’s Women’s World Cup.
In thumping the Windies Women’s across formats (ODIs and T20s) and doing an absolute repeat on their first major overseas assignment since 2017-end- tour to Ireland- the Kiwis have splintered anyone who’s challenged their authority in the game.

Experience meets exuberance

A Mithali, Harmanpreet and, Mandhana, together with spinners might be picking runs in another corner of the world. Lanning and Perry, along with Schutt and, Jonassen may be challenging the likes of Sciver, Beaumont, Knight on another territory.
But both in their home as well as in the heart of Ireland, it’s the name of New Zealand women’s team that’s reverberating. In fact, so loud has been its echo that record-shattering feats even unchallenged by the dominant writers of cricket history- the men-folk of course- haven’t been able to do what New Zealand have.
After Suzie Bates and Sophie Devine, together with Leigh Kasperek and, Tahuhu trounced Stafanie Taylor’s Windies 4-0 in T20s having whitewashed them in ODIs before, they would arrive in Dublin to smash records.

Whitewashing Stafanie Taylor’s Windies at home

New Zealnad Women's Cricket
New Zealand Women humbled West Indies Women’s side

But the treatment extended to their foes earlier- a side made up of Taylor, Mathews, Dottin, Nation, Mohammed- would be simply bone-crushing.
As Bates went about collecting runs in ODIs akin to a heretic returning to the material world, grabbing everything that would come her way- 44, followed by 101 and 89- Devine would bludgeon 73, 108 and, 80. Amy Satterthwaite would join in too with a fluent 69 against the Windies while Tahuhu and Kasperek would put brakes on Windies scoring, collecting defining 3-for’s and 4-for’s, respectively.
At the end of the carnage, West Indies didn’t seem to mind that they were saved from a T20 whitewash when it rained out in the 4th T20.

The bandwagon reaches Ireland to create a furore

New Zealand, by then, had the phrase ‘won’ written against their name in every single contest.
This is when the ICC, completely unbeknownst to them, scheduled a New Zealand tour to Ireland, not knowing a bit that they were serving a bonanza for fans of free-hitting but peril nightmare to Irish bowlers.
If there was a cricket tour that should’ve come with a mandatory disclaimer “watch out, the White Ferns are coming”, then this was it.
Except, none saw what was coming- perhaps, not even Bates or Devine.
The only T20 that Bates’ New Zealand played would result in a 10-wicket win. Easy as disturbing a sand castle by a solitary finger. T20 debutant Jess Watkin- another star in making- would fire a 38-ball-77.

The real massacring would be administered in the games that lay ahead

Truth be told, one wondered what might have happened had marketers, promoters of the series, purely in a light vein, have printed on the tickets sold- fireworks ahead?
Perhaps, an entire Dublin would’ve turned up to see the 3 ODI games from which New Zealand didn’t put team totals; instead the tallest skyscrapers in women’s cricket history, the first monument, actually being the tallest ever in ODI cricket history.
The First ODI against Ireland saw Sophie Bates enter Kiwi record books, becoming the only White Ferns batswoman to score 151 in a 50-over game.
Her effort led to New Zealand compiling 490 on the scoreboard. World-over, in a matter of few hours, cricket warmed up closer than it ever did to the women’s game.

Ireland, however, wasn’t as besotted as the rest of the world.

Sophie Devine
New Zealand batswoman Sophie Devine (Image; NDTV Sports)

It was as if a parakeet had entered a beast’s lair; only destruction lay ahead.
A team total that caused sheer vertigo just looking at it meant that no team even in the prominent men’s game had managed to score 490.
We moved on to the Second ODI. This time, Sophie Devine made her own spot in the record books, in striking the fastest-ever ODI hundred for Kiwi women. Her brute hitting took the White Ferns to 418. Ireland again bundled out cheaply. Theirs was an exhausted body knowing not how to move a limb.
By the time, the Third and eventual ODI approached, cricket world on the edge of their seats, having withstood tremors by Kiwi batswomen, Ireland would lose the ground under their feet.

Savagery in the Third ODI

Makeshift opening batswoman Amelia Kerr, a 17-year-old youngster who you’d liken to a teen who’d hang out on Instagram all day- fired 232 not out. She’d consume only 145 deliveries and imploded with 32 boundaries and 2 sixes.
The White Ferns would annihilate a clueless Ireland. They’d make 440 and in so doing, would become the only cricketing side in the entire world to register 3 back-to-back scores of 400 plus.
Interestingly, their win, what else would anyone have predicted, would mean (that in humbling Ireland for the third time on the Trott), they’d also become the only team to enjoy 3 consecutive wins by a margin of over 300 runs.
Few teams may match what New Zealand women’s already have. None may topple their immense consistency at breaking records as well.

But forget the blazing highs, keep aside the pillaging of the NZs opponents.

You recount that much of the current women’s cricket is so often siding with ravishing stars toward the East, with all respect to their tremendous talent.
In this sense, you become all the more willing to hail the achievements of New Zealand’s exemplary cricketers for all they’ve garnered in such a short span of time.
While June 8-12 would’ve been just another customary “go to work, come back and sleep” period for the world, for White Ferns, however, it was an exhibition of pure class and wizardry.
You then realise that perhaps playing cricket in its real candid sense- keeping the spirit ahead of shenanigans, celebrating team spirit over rubbing their win over their opponents- is what true champions this great sport of ours. And few teams can anoint cricket with this rarity of joy as the indomitable White Ferns.

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