The WHITE FERNS have got an historic tour of South Africa off to a strong start overnight, but the news is not so flash for star spinner Leigh Kasperek.
A standout performer for the WHITE FERNS in her breakthrough season last summer, off-spinner Kasperek has been ruled out of the tour and took no part in the comfortable warm-up win over a South Africa Emerging Talent selection in Potchefstroom after X-rays confirmed a broken spinning finger.
Kasperek sustained the avulsion fracture to her right index finger in team training last week and will be sidelined for a minimum of eight weeks — meaning she will also miss the impending home series against Pakistan at a time when the WHITE FERNS are looking to clinch their spot in the 2017 ICC Women’s World Cup.
Coach Haidee Tiffen confirmed 23-year-old Auckland Heart Maddy Green is on her way to South Africa as Kasperek’s replacement on tour. Allrounder Green last represented the WHITE FERNS in July last year in India, and adds top and middle order batting options to an already deep complement of slow bowling.
Said Tiffen, “We do feel our bowling stocks are quite well covered. Maddy provides cover if we do need it, but we’ve also already got the experience of [off-spinning allrounder] Amy Satterthwaite who now steps up into that bowling role for us, as well as [leg breaks] Sam Curtis and Erin Bermingham up our sleeves and of course the class of Morna Nielsen.
“While it’s obviously extremely disappointing for Leigh, and we wish her a swift recovery, she returns to Dunedin safe in the knowledge that the team has also had very good preparation here and a really good lead-in.
"Playing seven One-Day Internationals is going to really test us physically and mentally: this is not an easy series, but our players are tracking well after the first week of preparation here.”
Hear Haidee Tiffen's full post match debrief here.
Tiffen was pleased to see her senior players hit the ground running in the overnight victory — captain Suzie Bates and first drop Satterthwaite sharing top billing with 72 runs each, both players retiring unbeaten after the WHITE FERNS batted first by agreement with their hosts in Potchefstroom.
Belligerent opener Rachel Priest had earlier got the tour off to a typically boundary-strewn start before Katey Martin slammed a 35-ball half century as part of an unbeaten 65 off just 46 balls before she, too, was retired against a flayed Emerging Players attack.
Pace weapon Lea Tahuhu led the visiting bowling attack with 3-25 off seven overs while the non-standard format gave Tiffen the chance to give more than 11 players a run in the side’s sole 50-over workout ahead of Saturday’s opening One-Day International in Kimberley.
“Amy and Suzie have immediately continued on from the strong form they have shown overseas in the England summer,” said Tiffen.
“But it’s very different conditions here — hot, a very dry heat with lightning quick outfields, and it’s been completely blue skies all week during training, at altitude. Everyone’s coping really well to the new environment and we all understand there is a lot more cricket to get through in this series compared to normal.”
The WHITE FERNS now transfer to Kimberley for the opening One-Day International against South Africa, at 9pm NZT on Saturday.
New Zealand WHITE FERNS v South Africa Emerging Talent short scorecard: WHITE FERNS 298/6 in 50 overs (Suzie Bates 72*, Amy Satterthwaite 72*, Katey Martin* 65; Moseline Daniels 2-41 beat South Africa Emerging Talent 161/9 in 50 overs (Lea Tahuhu 3-25 off 7, Suzie Bates 2-19 off 5) at Senwes Park, Potchefstroom