Monday 25 February 2008 

New Zealand, New Challenges - Caroline Atkins' Tour Diary

We arrived in Christchurch on a sunny afternoon and made our way from the airport to the hotel without any hiccups. I recognised most of the scenery from my time here playing club cricket in 2003/04 winter. It felt good to be back as I really enjoyed Christchurch, the people are friendly and the city is lovely. The big plus side was that this time I was in Christchurch with the England squad whereas last time I was working on my game to try and get back into the England squad. I would say that was time well spent, but I had a lot to do to make sure this trip was also successful.

We had a practice day, then a practice game followed by another practice day before our five match ODI series began. We obviously arrived on a high from our Australia tour, but this series is equally important as New Zealand are tough opposition and will also have their eye on the World Cup Trophy for next winter.

We practised well and comfortably beat the New Zealand A side on a wearing pitch. We set 183-9 of which I contributed 23* at number 7 and then we bowled them out for 86 so all in all it was a good job done ahead of the big matches to follow.

We kicked off the series with our third national anthem ceremony of the winter and I have to say I think we’re getting even more tuneful with each one. It was a big game to set the tone for the series and so when we had New Zealand on 50-4 we looked pretty good. However, the Kiwi middle order played some good cricket and once again showed us what they are capable of with a few wickets in hand for the last ten overs. It wasn’t one our better bowling performances, but we knew we could chase down 262 with a couple of good partnerships. Unfortunately though, not enough batters contributed and we fell well short with our captain not out for 70.

There wasn’t much I could do about the 123-run defeat as I was 12th man, but the loss hurts us all and so there was a definite fight back on the cards for the next day.

Caroline Atkins

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