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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 September 2018

Suzie Bates expects women's cricket to keep going from strength to strength as New Zealand beat Pakistan in Sharjah

The New Zealand captain offers her views following their seven-wicket win over Pakistan in the ICC Women's Championship.

Pakistan bat against New Zealand in the first ODI between the two sides on Tuesday. New Zealand that match by eight runs. Antonie Robertson / The National
Pakistan bat against New Zealand in the first ODI between the two sides on Tuesday. New Zealand that match by eight runs. Antonie Robertson / The National

Suzie Bates, the New Zealand captain, believes women cricketers have more opportunities than ever before to become role models for aspiring players.

Bates oversaw a seven-wicket win over Pakistan, secured with 26 overs to spare, in the second one-day international at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Thursday.

The win gave the away side a 2-0 lead in the three-match series, and also hoisted them up to second in the ICC Women’s Championship in the process.

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Few were able to see the game in person, and there is no live TV broadcast. However, an online stream of the series has had more than 220,000 views so far.

Bates thinks the increasing visibility of the women’s game means greater potential for the likes of Sophie Devine, who hit a 48-ball 62 for New Zealand, to inspire others.

“All I saw was the Black Caps on TV, and Nathan Astle was someone I loved when I was younger,” Bates said, after the win in the second ODI.

“They did show the 2000 World Cup, which was at home and the New Zealand women won. That was the first time I saw women’s cricket on the TV, and that was a massive moment for me.

“Now there are more and more opportunities for that. Once they have big events that are shown globally, fans love watching Sophie Devine bat.

“Then, the next series she plays, whether it be a stream or on TV, they can follow the players. The more that people can do that, the more fans we can engage, and hopefully that includes young girls.”

This series is the first official engagement either side have had since each suffered disappointment at the World Cup in the UK during the summer.

That competition set new broadcast viewing records for the women’s game, with the final won by England in front a sold-out crowd at Lord’s.

The impact felt back in New Zealand and Pakistan, though, was mixed. The New Zealanders missed out on the semi-finals, while Pakistan finished last in the standings.

“Perhaps the first game [which New Zealand won by eight runs] there were some post-World Cup blues, and we were a little bit complacent,” Bates said.

“It was good to get the win, even though we probably didn’t deserve to, and then to come out today and hit our straps again is really pleasing.”

Pakistan are rebuilding under a new captain. Bismah Maroof was handed the role after Sana Mir was jettisoned following the World Cup disappointment.

“We have different management, I am new as the captain, and we are trying to change the brand of cricket from what we saw in the World Cup,” Maroof said.

“We are hopeful that in the coming four years we can change and improve.

“We have a lot of support from our people. They were very disappointed after the World Cup and we faced a lot of criticism.

“That shows people are following us and want us to do better. That encourages us. We want to improve, as a team and individuals.”

Tasneem champions women's cricket in UAE

UAE cricket captain Humaira Tasneem. Pawan Singh / The National
UAE cricket captain Humaira Tasneem. Pawan Singh / The National

Humaira Tasneem, the UAE captain, wants more girls to want to represent the country in cricket.

The UAE are preparing to play at a World Twenty20 Qualifier in Thailand later this month, with their first match against China on November 20.

The country has been represented in women’s cricket for 10 years now, and will be playing in an ICC-associated event for the first time.

Tasneem hopes more players will take to the sport to help the side progress, and has some advice for any girls who are interested.

“If you don’t have a cricket team, go to your PE teacher, bug them, make a petition, and start a team,” Tasneem said.

“Keep playing, and in the coming years we will be the ones coming there and giving workshops.

“Then hopefully, [in the future] we can have 200 girls who are ready to come for selections for the UAE women’s team.”

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