Even before South Africa arrived at Boland Park on Monday to play New Zealand in the women’s T20 World Cup, their day was challenging. They would have been eliminated from contention for the semi-finals if they had lost. Only four of the dozen players from the WPL who entered their names were purchased at the auction. They had little control over what a group of wealthy franchise owners thought, but they had complete control over their performance. They had performed significantly worse than they should have in the tournament opener on Friday at Newlands, losing to Sri Lanka by three runs while scoring only 129/4. If they suffered another loss, they might end up in the kitchen at their own celebration.
The same could largely be true of New Zealand. They were bowled out for 76 at Boland Park on Saturday, needing 174 to defeat Australia. And only two of the 19 of their players who were up for sale received jobs. For South Africa, the day’s outcome was far better than for New Zealand. After scoring 132/6, they removed the New Zealanders for 67. How was it possible for a team that had performed so poorly in Cape Town to so dramatically reinvent itself just three days later? Chloe Tryon, who scored and took 2/12 from three overs in the Sri Lankan match, revealed that we had a conversation about it shortly after. “We said we’d leave it here while sitting up in the changing room. We were aware of the short turnaround. We are aware that we have to check to see that we were acting appropriately before the following game. Everyone arrived today with the intention of working extremely hard, in my opinion.
I felt that our score, which was above 130, was a little bit low. However, each bowler was aware of what they needed to do, and you can feel the desire that was blazing within each of them. Therefore, as a bowling team, we are being brutal and making sure the fire is still blazing. Sophie Devine had a more difficult task. In just three days, how had the squad she coaches managed to post two of New Zealand’s lowest five T20I totals? I doubt there are enough words to adequately express my disappointment and humiliation. I take a lot of responsibility for it as captain and for how I manage this team because that isn’t good enough for an international cricket side. It is insufficient.
The strength of South Africa’s comeback will be put to the test on Saturday at St. George’s Park when they play host to overwhelming favorites Australia. But New Zealand had all but given up on making it to the knockout stages. They play Bangladesh at Newlands on Friday and Sri Lanka at Boland Park on Sunday. Sincere response: It’s bloody difficult to succeed anymore, Devine replied. Our run rate [at -4.050] is completely out the window, which suggests that we will need to score roughly 8,000 runs while holding Sri Lanka and Bangladesh to 20 or so. I suppose that funnier things have happened. But we must be honest with ourselves about how we got into this situation. That being said, we must be honest with ourselves and recognize the value of such games to us. Every time we put on the New Zealand jersey, we must play with genuine pride. It is very important to this group. Yes, we will experience severe pain, which could last for several days. However, we must let it out and ascertain its cause.
The WPL auction may have blurred her players’ attention. If you don’t believe it was a distraction and that it was strange, then you must be living under a rock. It was certainly not the best time, but it is what it is. Our players had numerous conversations about it. I’m not sure how to handle it properly or incorrectly, but we discussed it freely and how it affected us. But when looking at the wider picture, it’s amazing to see some of the money that was spent on women’s sports and women’s cricket.
In the wake of the game on Monday, Devine spoke about healing, sorrow, or whatever you want to call it. But she came out as being angry overall. How would you phrase that? Would they be after her players? She said, before entering the quietest of silences, “It’s probably going to come out in tears.” Yes, you’ve now enraged me. Her eyes glistened as she recovered her voice. “Losing cricket matches like that is incredibly difficult. Instead of not showing our actual potential and being worked up like that, I’d rather we went out swinging and were bowled out for 12. South Africa deserves all the credit because they were by far the superior squad. But my becoming furious won’t make anything better. Sincerely, I’m unsure about the solution. And that’s where things get challenging. I wish there was some type of quick fix that could put everything right so we could get back on track in the next few hours.
We’ll have to work together to find the solution because we’re in this for the long haul, and that’s what I love about this group. But I don’t know the answer, so that’s something we’ll have to work out as a team. It’s frustrating, embarrassing, and sad that we haven’t performed to our full ability. However, I’d do everything to play for this group, and my becoming upset won’t change anything for the girls who are currently in the shed upstairs. I should probably maneuver around them and put my arm around them.