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ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020: ‘We’re here to try and win the tournament’ - Rachel Priest

Rachel Priest of New Zealand batting in the 2017 Cricket World Cup
©Reuters
 

Rachel Priest’s comeback goal couldn’t be clearer – she wants to take New Zealand to their third ICC Women’s T20 World Cup final and this time she is desperate to win it.

Priest spent two years out of favour with the national team until being recalled in the autumn, but the veteran wicketkeeper-batter is not afraid of stating her ambitions for the White Ferns with conviction.

Reaching the MCG Final on 8 March in front of what could be a record attendance for a women’s sport fixture is the first goal but the 34-year-old doesn’t want to stop there.

Having been on the losing side in 2009 and 2010, she is willing to do whatever is takes to help the White Ferns take home their first ICC Women’s T20 World Cup trophy, with the extra edge of competing on Australian soil.

“We’re here to try and win the tournament,” said Priest. “My memories from previous tournaments are both good and bad because it’s really nice to make a World Cup final, but we’ve lost on both occasions.

“Many of us in the current squad have been in the position of coming second and we want to finally get across the line.

“In T20 cricket, all it needs is one person to change the game and we’ve got some really amazing players in our team who have the ability to take the game away from teams.

“We all need to be on board and firing because we know that a couple of good performances out of everyone will take us through to that final in Melbourne.”

A timely return to the international fold gives New Zealand a wealth of experienced options in their top order, with Priest, Suzie Bates and Sophie Devine boasting almost 600 White Ferns appearances between them.

With Devine in incredible form, becoming the first cricketer male or female to register five consecutive 50+ scores in T20Is, and Bates remaining the highest run-scorer in the format, New Zealand are a force to be reckoned with at this year’s tournament.

And when Priest’s opportunity to head to the middle comes, she’s going to make sure she sets the tone from the off.

“I’m going to try to be aggressive at the top of the batting order,” she added. “That’s just how I naturally play the way.

“We’ve got some really classy batters in Suzie and Sophie and hopefully I can get us off to a good start and they can come and do the rest. As a keeper, I want to be supportive of the team and keep that buzz going on the field.

“The squad has changed a little since I’ve been away but we’ve got a really strong T20 team with many of the players having experience around the world in English and Australian competitions.

“To come back into the fold and play a World Cup with these players straight away is pretty special.”

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