Women’s Cricket World Cup: New Zealand rebounds with nine-wicket win

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DUNEDIN, New Zealand (AP) — Suzie Bates scored 79 and shared an unbroken 108-run partnership with Amelia Kerr to steer New Zealand to a nine-wicket win over Bangladesh on Monday in a rain-shortened match at the Women’s Cricket World Cup.

The win breathed new life into New Zealand’s ailing campaign after its shock loss to the West Indies in the tournament’s opening match put the host a step behind the leading teams after the first full round of matches.

New Zealand v West Indies - 2022 ICC Women's Cricket World Cup
TAURANGA, NEW ZEALAND – Deandra Dottin of the West Indies celebrates after defeating New Zealand in the first game of the Women’s Cricket World Cup. (Photo by Phil Walter-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

For much of Monday, New Zealand faced the bleak prospect that its match against Bangladesh would be washed out, that the teams would share the points and it would be left with only one point from two games.

But the rain that prevented the start of play at 11 a.m. local time lifted to allow a shortened match to get underway at 3 p.m. A minimum of 20 overs per side was needed to constitute a match.

Bangladesh batted first after losing the toss and made 140-8, led by Fargana Hoque, who made 52 from 63 balls.

New Zealand lost Sophie Devine, a century-maker in its opening match, with the total at 36 in the seventh over. Bates and Kerr came together and guided New Zealand to victory with seven overs or 42 balls to spare. Kerr dabbed the ball behind point for four to bring up the winning runs and finish 47 not out.

Bates’ half century was her 28th in one-day internationals and at 73 she surpassed 1,000 runs in World Cup matches. Her innings was also her first in an international match on her home ground at the University Oval.

It was played in intermittent rain and in bitterly cold conditions. New Zealand always faced the nervous prospect the rain might return intensely enough to stop the match before the 20th over, causing the points to be shared.

The rain at times was heavy during the New Zealand innings but Bangladesh kept the contest alive regardless and New Zealand won at the completion of the 20th over.

New Zealand v Bangladesh - 2022 ICC Women's Cricket World Cup
DUNEDIN, NEW ZEALAND: Suzie Bates of New Zealand falls to ground as Shamima Sultana of Bangladesh attempts to stump during the 2022 ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup. (Photo by Joe Allison – ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

“It’s been a strange day,” said Bates, who was player of the match. “It’s my home town, I’ve never played here and this morning I opened the curtains and I was devastated.

“Once I got out there it was just about having fun and having that partnership with (Amelia) and absorbing that pressure. ” Bangladesh began aggressively after being sent in, taking a toll on the New Zealand medium pacers and rushing to 31 after only three overs. But the advent of the spinners slowed down the scoring rate and, as wickets fell regularly, it struggled to rebuild momentum.

New Zealand made a more cautious beginning and was 29-0 after, 57-1 after 10 overs. Bates and Kerr accumulated steadily, mostly through singles. Bangladesh set a tight ring field and fielded well, making boundaries hard to come by.

Near the end, New Zealand stepped up the pace and the century partnership between Bates and Kerr came from 81 balls.