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“We Are Starting To Move In The Right Direction In Terms Of How We Want To Play”- Sophie Devine

In a nail-biting showdown at the third ODI between New Zealand and England, held at Hamilton, it was Sophie Devine who stole the spotlight with her exceptional century, propelling the White Ferns to a resounding victory.

Post-match, both captains, Sophie Devine and Heather Knight, shared their insights and reflections on the game and the season ahead speaking to Neha Shetty of Women’s CricInsight.

Sophie Devine Reflects on Team Growth

Addressing the media, Sophie Devine, the captain of the New Zealand team, emphasized the growth trajectory her side has been on throughout the season where they squared off against Sri Lanka, Pakistan and England. “I think the growth from this team, I think we are starting to move in the right direction in terms of how we want to play,” she remarked.

Sophie Devine highlighted the exemplary leadership of Bernadine Bezuidenhout and Suzie Bates especially the team’s prowess in powerplay overs in T20 cricket.

The dependable duo for White Ferns [Image: Getty]
The dependable duo for White Ferns [Image: Getty]
Looking at the larger picture of their performances in the recent past, the skipper added, “We have obviously seen probably a bit of both. We have seen when we have been successful but also when we haven’t. So I think that is just going to take time just to figure out our roles in that and how we play and how we fit into that space, particularly in T20 cricket.”

Sophie Devine also remarked, “With the ball, it has been great. We have seen different people step up and fill different roles but also stick to their strengths. I think that is what has been hugely important to us, is we do not want to ask the bowler to go and do something that is, you know, not in their wheelhouse. So, for me, it has been a bit of a learning for that and knowing, I guess, always keeping an eye on pinnacle events. So, you always want to keep fine-tuning and keep thinking about what is going to be successful in those sorts of conditions,” underlining the team’s focus on fine-tuning their game for future challenges.

She acknowledged the need to refine their strategies in the middle phase of the game, particularly in T20 cricket. Devine also praised her bowlers for stepping up and sticking to their strengths, emphasizing the importance of playing to individual strengths.

The White Ferns ended the series on a high [Image: Getty]
The White Ferns ended the series on a high [Image: Getty]
On the team’s preparation during the off-season, Sophie Devine expressed determination, stating, “We have got a couple of weeks off and then we get stuck into pretty hard work with camps and then we are heading over to England nice and early to give us a bit of build-up time. But yeah, we are going to be absolutely flogged, if I am being honest. And that is what it takes.”

She further added, “You get these windows of opportunity and for us, it is about learning and growing our game. We have identified a number of areas, both with bat and ball and in the field, that we are going to have to improve reasonably, you know, a fair amount to keep up with these top sides and to play the style that we want to.”

Reflecting more, Sophie Devine said, “There is going to be a lot of balls being hit, a lot of balls being bowled and just doing that dirty hard work sort of in the pits of Lincoln and Mount Maunganui. So I am really looking forward to getting stuck in and working hard with this group.” 

She emphasized the importance of hard work and identified areas for improvement, both with bat and ball, vowing to put in the grind during training camps and practice sessions.

Heather Knight Commends Standout Performances

Heather Knight, the captain of the England team, lauded standout performances from her players during the series. “Maia is the obvious one,” she acknowledged, praising Maia Bouchier’s stellar batting in the T20 matches versus New Zealand.

Maia Bouchier was the standout performer in the T20I series [Image: Getty]
Maia Bouchier was the standout performer in the T20I series [Image: Getty]
Knight also highlighted the emergence of Lauren Bell as a leader in the bowling attack, noting her growth in confidence and versatility in executing different skills. “I think Lauren Bell is sort of slipped under the radar, how she’s sort of come into the side only a few years ago and suddenly has become one of the leaders of our attack, particularly in the T20 cricket. I’ve seen her really grow in confidence and start to be really confident about what she’s trying to execute and the field she wants to go with that. It’s been really cool to see her grow in confidence and add different skills. She used to just be able to swing it in but now she’s using her wobble more and is able to really have different tools in her box I guess to use in different situations which is really cool to see her grow in that way,” Knight observed, applauding Bell’s adaptability.

Lauren Bell's emergence as the pace attack leader has been fascinating [Image: Getty]
Lauren Bell’s emergence as the pace attack leader has been fascinating [Image: Getty]
Additionally, Knight commended Amy Jones’ ability to absorb pressure and deliver consistent performances with the bat, expressing satisfaction with her contribution to the team’s success.

She said, “I guess Amy’s how she’s sort of soaked up the pressure and put it back on the opposition has been really nice to see. Seeing her consistently back well for England has been really nice as well because she’s sometimes had brilliant innings and then sort of dropped off a little bit so to see her be hungry to keep getting runs for us and get us out of tricky situations has been really nice.”

Amy Jones was at her clinical best in this series [Image: Getty]
Amy Jones was at her clinical best in this series [Image: Getty]
As the cricketing world awaits the next encounter between these formidable teams once again in July, the reflections and aspirations shared by both captains underscore the relentless pursuit of excellence and the brand of cricket played by these units.

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