‘Smash Sisters’ back together for White Ferns

The so-called ‘Smash Sisters’ are set to reunite for the White Ferns in the opening T20 against England.

Suzie Bates and Sophie Devine.
Photo: PHOTOSPORT

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The return of Suzie Bates from a long-term injury was also expected to mean the return of her partnership at the top of the batting order with White Ferns captain Sophie Devine.

Handed the moniker because of their aggressive styles, the vastly experienced all-rounders made their international debuts just six months apart back in 2006.

Ahead the first of three T20s in Chelmsford on Thursday morning (NZ time), Devine said the squad had loved having Bates back for the tour.

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“I’ve noticed a big change in the energy with her back.

“It’s probably her first major injury that’s taken her out of the side and the great thing about it is it’s given her a bit of perspective. She’s really relished her opportunity to be back in this environment.

“She’s no spring chicken but she’s come in with this really youthful enthusiasm and it’s been quite infectious for the rest of the group.”

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How that translated to on-field results remained to be seen.

Devine said while the signs in training had been positive, they knew the calibre of their opposition and were also keeping one eye on the bigger picture.

“There’s obviously a big World Cup coming up next year at home, and the Comm Games as well, which are real pinnacle events for us.

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“This tour we’re looking at as another pillar and stepping stone towards those major events.

“As long as we’re trending in the right direction, and we’re really clear about what that looks like as a group, then we’ll be very competitive in this tour.”

Meanwhile the White Ferns were excited to see a sell-out for the opening T20.

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A capacity crowd will pack in at Chelmsford and Devine said the New Zealand team was excited for a great atmosphere.

“The women’s game is certainly on a roll over here.

“Obviously they’re just coming off the back of their Hundred competition, which has brought a lot of new fans in.

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“It’s awesome to see that momentum carrying on with a sell-out crowd at Chelmsford.

“They’ve had awesome support here in Essex. I know that they always get good crowds, they call it ‘The Fortress’ and they’ve got a pretty good record here, so we’re looking to spoil the party.”

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