New Zealand have hauled themselves up to 3rd in the Women’s International Championship table with three crushing wins over Sri Lanka, pushing England back to 5th, meaning they need to win all three of their WIC ODIs(1) in South Africa next February to put themselves back into a secure qualifying spot for the 2017 World Cup(2).
The star of the show was glove-butler-batsman Rachel Priest, who hit 108, 51* and 157, the latter off just 167 balls, opening the batting with skipper Susie Bates.
All in all it has been quite a week for the White Ferns. After being humiliated in a warm-up match by their own ‘A’ side last weekend, collapsing to 69-8 and then watching the ‘A’s pile on the runs; it seems as though that was the wake-up call they needed.
The 1st ODI was as close as Sri Lanka came – a 96 run victory for New Zealand, after they had posted 283, with Priest backed-up by a 69 from Amy Satterthwaite. Former Scotland international Leigh Kasperek then took 4-27 as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 187.
In the 2nd ODI, Sri Lanka were put in and crawled to a meagre total of 126 – bowled out in the 46th over, with Bates taking 3-27. In reply, it took Priest and Bates just 15 overs to make the runs without loss.
In the final Championship ODI(3) it was Susie Bates (80) who again played the back-up role, as Priest hit 23 4s on the way to her 157 – the highest score of her 115-match international career.
(1) Assuming all 3 matches are completed.
(2) If England win the series 2-1 they will be tied in 4th with South Africa.
(3) There are two more, non-WIC OIDs to follow.
Priest’s SL series stats are incredible – averaging 158 with a SR of 103.6.
But I thought that Priest’s overall 2015 ODI stats must have been impressive as well. Turns out I was right.
Since she scored 52* and 96 against England back in Feb, when she averaged an impressive 47.3 in the ODI series, even a moderate ODI tour of India in which she averaged 17.4 can’t spoil overall figures to date since Feb, averaging 53.8 at a strike rate of 80.9 (by my calculations).
Priest is a player with amazing hitting power, stamina and concentration. She is not, perhaps, the most elegant of players but is great at putting bad balls away and overall very, very effective indeed. Especially on faster wickets. Much more of this and Sarah Taylor will be looking over her shoulder as the best wicketkeeper/top-order batter (in my opinion).
It also goes to show that SL cricket administrators need to take women’s cricket more seriously and actually invest more in their team’s development if they want to compete with the top sides.