It was a glorious afternoon in North Sydney yesterday. The autumnal cool air and warm afternoon sun made for perfect conditions.
North Sydney oval has old-world charm. The stadia are vintage, recovered from various developments at the SCG apparently. They're shallow and tightly surround the pitch. A large embankment on the east side of the ground is the perfect spot to sit if you've got a hat and sunscreen (though you can't easily see the replay screen). The ground was completely open when I arrived, late in New Zealand's innings, meaning anyone could have stopped by for free (sadly however, the bar had closed).
I caught the last ten overs. Just before I arrived I heard applause as Mason hit a four and a six. She struck another boundary but was then caught at mid-wicket. By then however, it didn't matter. New Zealand had momentum and wickets in hand. Bates joined Browne and both continued to play aggressively, Bates batting well out of the crease - even Gouher Sultana's near full-tosses didn't deter her though she did cop a couple in the ribs. The Ferns had luck too, benefiting from a couple of misfields and four leg-byes in the last few overs (but the Indians had bowled tightly throughout, conceding only eight extras compared with the Ferns 25).
A small group of supporters, many who looked like parents of team members, were in the stands. We joined them for the last two overs and then applauded the team as they joined the pair that'd hit the winning runs. Danny Morrison did the presentations to polite heckling - c'mon Danny, walk-in with the bowler mate - and Pulford was player of the match having taken a pair then knocked 71.
Tiffen's pre-match prediction that her pace bowlers would do well was spot on. Devine, Pulford, and Browne took five, spinner Mason just one - remarkably the rest were all run-outs.
It's possible the Ferns won't make the final though they should. On form, Pakistan won't trouble them on Thursday which means Sunday's final will be New Zealand against England. Interestingly England last won the cup at home in 1993 and New Zealand at home in 2000. New Zealand ought to be adopted by the hosts and the expats should be there en masse... New Zealand cricket fans will need distraction from the domestic series!
1 day ago