Photo Credit: ICC
It had to be her, but it had to be rain-affected.
Suzie Bates almost saw a third chance to play her first game at home in Dunedin while representing New Zealand go by, rain a previous culprit as well as injury.
But the rain stopped this time, allowing her to take the field and smash a match-winning 79 not out as the White Ferns defeated Bangladesh by nine wickets at the University Oval.
In doing so, she also moved to 1006 runs at ICC Women’s Cricket World Cups, joining an exclusive group with five other women.
Play started four hours later than scheduled but there were plenty of hardy South Islanders in place to cheer on their home hero as the two teams headed out for a 27-over game.
Bangladesh looked like they might spoil the homecoming party as they raced to 41 off the first five overs before Amy Satterthwaite picked up three for 25.
Bates would be involved as well, setting up Frankie Mackay for her second run out of the day as Bangladesh finished on 140 for eight.
Then, it was time.
Bates strode out to the middle of the Oval as she had done plenty of times before, but this time it was her New Zealand teammate Sophie Devine by her side and with a White Fern on her helmet.
The 34-year-old had a chance to compose herself as Devine faced the first few deliveries, although the experienced campaigner had always been good at just focusing on the cricket.
When her turn came, she started slowly setting herself in but soon looked to tee off, Jahanara Alam, wise to her tricks, pulled out of her run-up as Bates stepped down the track.
Bates would lose her opening partner with New Zealand reaching 36 for one but out came the new guard of Amelia Kerr who would only ever have known the White Ferns with Bates at the heart of the team.
The duo, with 13 years of age between them, soon set about chasing down the total as the rain continued to fall, threatening to wash out her big day.
But a little rain never stopped Suzie Bates.
Instead with 15.4 overs gone she brought up a maiden Dunedin fifty, her 12th overall, to the applause of a crowd of friends and family.
And Bates would get the chance to raise her bat again because as she ticked over to 75 runs for the game, it brought up an even bigger milestone.
The right-hander became only the second New Zealand woman after Debbie Hockley to make 1000 runs at Women’s Cricket World Cups.
It says a lot about Bates’ understated manner that she didn’t even know the milestone was coming up, her focus only on getting New Zealand’s World Cup campaign back on track after their opening defeat to the West Indies.
But she was proud to be alongside the woman who had inspired her to become a White Fern.
Bates said: “I didn’t actually realise that, I should perhaps be more into the stats. Debbie Hockley is an absolute legend, and she has set all the records previously.
“So, to join her is pretty special and she’s such a huge fan of the White Ferns so nice for her to be there as well.
“She was a huge inspiration for all of us growing up and being a part of that team that won the World Cup in 2000, she set the standard with the amount of runs she scored for New Zealand.”
Hockley was watching on from the commentary box as Bates reached her thousand and had just one thing to say.
“Welcome to the club.”