Tuesday, April 23, 2024

ICC: Bates’ class shines through

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Photo Credit: ICC

Afront-row seat to one of the greatest shows in the world.

That is how Sophie Devine described spending her career watching Suzie Bates bat. 

Devine was out for 12 today, and while she may have preferred to be out in the middle, the skipper was able to put her feet up and grab the popcorn to watch Suzie Bates light up Hagley Oval. 

Bates put in a Player of the Match performance as New Zealand defeated Pakistan by 71 runs to in all likelihood end their ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup campaign on a high, with the White Ferns needing Bangladesh to shock England, India to lose to South Africa and a massive swing in net run rate to qualify for the semi-finals.

Her 126 runs from 135 balls made up almost half of the White Ferns’ total of 265, but it was a special knock for more than just that. 

As she passed 81 runs, she reached 5000 runs in ODIs, the fourth woman to do so but the first from New Zealand. 

Bates has turned the legendary trio of Mithali Raj, Charlotte Edwards and Stafanie Taylor into a fearsome quartet. 

As she reached the milestone, the 34-year-old was cheered on by her teammates but also by those who have inspired the current crop of New Zealand players, the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2000 winners, victors on home soil the last time Aotearoa played host and in attendance in Christchurch. 

And Bates has further cemented her place among those legends with another feat of run-scoring brilliance today. 

Devine said: “I think it was probably quite symbolic that you had the 2000 World Cup players [here]. I saw Debbie Hockley on the sidelines. 

“I don’t say this lightly, but Suzie Bates is going to be one of our greatest ever players produced from New Zealand. 

“I have just had a front-row seat for most of my career and I think the greatest thing about Suze is absolutely she’s a world-class player, but she’s just a really good human in the way that she inspires other people.  

“Even now she’s like a young kid out there, I think you probably saw her running around and joking, her energy is infectious, and I think that’s probably something that I’m most proud of not just the runs that she’s scored.” 

When Bates brought up her century she moved past the likes of Claire Taylor, Harmanpreet Kaur and Meg Lanning to stand all on her own. 

She became the first player in the men’s or women’s game to make a hundred at four consecutive Cricket World Cups. 

As she reached three figures, the banks of the Hagley Oval rose to applaud one of their own but one like no other. 

And as she received the Player of the Match award, Bates’ actions backed up Devine’s glowing praise of her character.

Bates decided to share the award with Hannah Rowe whose five for 55 earned her a maiden international five-fer and crucially limited Pakistan to 194 for nine.

It perhaps best summed up the day as Bates, who was inspired by the team of 2000, shared an award with a player who no doubt grew up watching some of the 8425 runs the opener has plundered in international cricket. 

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