Team captains at the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022 pose with the trophy in Christchurch on February 25, 2022. (Left to right) Meg Lanning (Australia), Bismah Maroof (Pakistan), Stafanie Taylor (West Indies), Heather Knight (England), Sophie Devine (New Zealand), Mithali Raj (India), Sune Luus (South Africa) and Nigar Sultana (Bangladesh).

Team captains at the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022 pose with the trophy in Christchurch on February 25, 2022. (Left to right) Meg Lanning (Australia), Bismah Maroof (Pakistan), Stafanie Taylor (West Indies), Heather Knight (England), Sophie Devine (New Zealand), Mithali Raj (India), Sune Luus (South Africa) and Nigar Sultana (Bangladesh).

New Zealand to meet West Indies in opening match of ICC Women's Cricket World Cup 2022 on Friday

Tauranga, March 3, 2022

Captain Sophie Devine says she’ll be too excited to sleep as New Zealand prepare to open the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022 on Friday.

The White Ferns will take on the West Indies at the Bay Oval in Tauranga with the tournament getting underway a year later than planned due to COVID-19.

New Zealand head into the tournament off the back of a 4-1 series win against India and a thumping victory over Australia in their second warm-up match, including 161 not out for Devine, the perfect starter to the mega attraction of the World Cup.

“It's hugely exciting. It's been a tournament that’s long been coming up with Covid delays here and there but to think that we finally are here, tomorrow it all kicks off, it is certainly extremely exciting,” she said.

“I know this group is ready, we have obviously had fantastic prep, we have come off a heavy diet of cricket over the summer and I don't think we could be any better prepared heading into this World Cup, so we're really excited to finally get going. It'll be interesting to see how the sleep goes tonight. I've tried to have a few naps today and they've not been that successful!”

New Zealand sit in fifth in the MRF Tyres ICC ODI team rankings, but Devine knows that the whole of Aotearoa will be hoping they are in the final come 3 April.

She added: “This tournament has been a long time coming and there is absolutely going to be nerves, there is going to be pressure, there is going to be expectation. We'd be silly to think that those things won't be there, especially being a home World Cup and the host country, there is expectation there.

“But again, we've spoken at length as a group that we can only control what we can control and that is out on that cricket field. We're embracing all the small wee different things but there's a lot of familiarity. Obviously coming back here to Bay Oval, we have played a lot of cricket here, we've done a lot of training camps here, so it's nice to come back to familiar surroundings.

“At the end of the day, we just need to focus on what we can control and it's another game of cricket, so we just need to make sure that we're tuned into that.”

For her opposing number, West Indies captain Stafanie Taylor, the pressure New Zealand may be under is of no concern.

She said: “We don't talk about if they're under pressure. I think that's for them, we tried to zone in on us and what we need to do to perform well. We had a practice session today and we worked on areas that we need to work on to prepare ourselves for tomorrow.

“Anything we do tomorrow, we just know we have to do it well, you have to play to the best of your ability. New Zealand is in good form, but it's all about the day and who’ll perform.”

The Windies have set a goal of scoring more than 200 runs when batting, something they failed to do in their warm-up losses to Australia and India.

Taylor said: “We had our meeting and we said that to be competitive, we have to be scoring over 200 runs and, in the two games that we played, we didn't do. So that's something that we've had a look at and moving forward that is something that we need to work on.”

The tournament opener begins at 2pm local time at the Bay Oval, Tauranga.

NNN

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