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White Ferns Can Tame Lord's Factor - Watkins

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Fuseworks Media
White Ferns Can Tame Lord's Factor - Watkins

Sydney, June 19 NZPA - As far as dress rehearsals for a major cricket final go, Aimee Watkins and her White Ferns could hardly have asked for more at Nottingham's Trent Bridge in England.

Now the in-form New Zealand captain is hoping the tough lessons from the World Cup final defeat three months ago can steel them for the Twenty20 title at Lord's on Sunday night (NZT).

Led by Watkins' dominant unbeaten 89 off 58 balls, the White Ferns posted 145 for five off 20 overs as they outclassed India by 52 runs in the first semifinal early today.

They then faced a 24-hour wait to discover their opponents as hosts and tournament favourites England tackle rivals Australia.

Watkins was buzzing about her side's current form.

"It probably couldn't have gone much better today," she said.

"It was just really a dream day, and showed how much work we've put in. Momentum's going to be important for us now. We're not really too fussed who we play in the final."

The match at Lord's, the curtainraiser to the men's final, will be the Ferns' second decider in three months, after they stumbled to England by four wickets in the 50-over World Cup final in Sydney in March.

Then, New Zealand's powerful batting line-up froze against a polished England attack and Watkins vowed there would be no repeat this time.

"It was a good learning experience. We had only one person who'd played a big final before (the now-retired Haidee Tiffen), so no one was really prepared for the nerves and excitement which comes with it."

It will be a first visit to Lord's for the Ferns in a rare women's match on the hallowed turf.

"It hasn't really sunk in that we're playing there yet. We don't really know what to expect but we just have to see it as another game," Watkins said.

Watkins (nee Mason) stamped herself as the star of the tournament at Trent Bridge.

The innings, including 10 fours and two sixes, beat Claire Taylor's tournament high of 75 against Sri Lanka and moved Watkins past teammate Suzie Bates as the leading runscorer with 198 at an average of 99.

After some modest batting form at the World Cup, Watkins said the captaincy promotion was the key.

"It has inspired me out there. Mentally it's a lot more responsibility. Every shot I play seems to come off; even the inside edges are going for four."

It helped New Zealand continue their hot form to make it four wins from four after they dispatched Australia, West Indies and South Africa in pool play.

Newcomer Sian Ruck then led the bowling with two for 18, as sharp catching and polished fielding restricted India to 93 for nine.

Allrounder Amy Satterthwaite also bagged two wickets while Sara McGlashan led the fielding effort with two catches and a direct hit run out.

Watkins was confident her buoyant side could ride out their momentum for the big prize at Lord's.

"Twenty20's a format that suits our game. We've got clear-cut plans from our coach (former test opener Gary Stead) and they've come off so far.

"Everyone's just really pumped up after that win. I can't explain how excited we are and how ready we are for the final."

 

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