New Zealand is linked with Indonesia, Ireland, & the West Indies in Group C. It wasn't so long ago when the New Zealand Development squad faced the West Indies U-19 in a T20 series that took place in Mumbai.
New Zealand's squad features 3 players who have represented the senior side and combine for a total of 49 caps. Fran Jonas (23 caps), Izzy Gaze (13 caps), & Georgia Plimmer (13 caps). The squad saw a late change with Breearne Illing getting ruled out because of an injury and the Auckland all-rounder was replaced by Louisa Kotkamp.
The New Zealand U-19 players have had a good amount of game time in the last few months by playing in multiple competitions. There were several players who toured India as a part of the New Zealand Development Squad and played against the West Indies U-19 & India U-19s. They also had the National U-19 Tournaments followed by several players getting game time in the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield & the Super Smash.
The team got together in their first warm-up game against Rwanda and put in a stellar performance to win the game by 63 runs. They will face Pakistan in the second warm-up before they kickstart their campaign against Indonesia on the 15th of January.
PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:
Izzy Sharp - The Canterbury U-19 skipper will be leading the side after being impressive with her leadership in the domestic tournament. Sharp is a batter who looks ready to take the next step soon. She has solid strokeplay and can muscle the ball powerfully. Sharp got a chance to debut for the senior Canterbury side in the T20 format and played a couple of games in the Super Smash.
Emma McLeod - McLeod knows only one thing, and that is to churn out runs in every game. The top-order bat minted runs for the Central Districts in the U-19s. In the 7 games that she played, she scored 2x50s and 1x100 to finish with an average of 64+ and an SR just below 100.
Kayley Knight - Kayley Knight has been the most impressive young domestic bowler. While the numbers may not do justice to her heroics and stellar thought process, there was enough evidence to prove that she will be spearheading the pace attack. Knight toured India with the Development squad and picked the most wickets for them.
However, Knight's most impressive performances came in the Super Smash. A late injury to Lucy Boucher just before the game saw Knight getting an unexpected opportunity and she didn't miss out. She bowled exceptionally well with the new ball, but had the task of closing out the innings against two well-set and highly-experienced batters in Suzie Bates & Kate Ebrahim. Knight bowled a very accurate over as she nailed her wide lines and yorkers to keep the runs down. She was at it again when Hannah Rowe was going ballistic at Pukekura Park & Knight again had the duty of bowling the last over to defend 16 runs. She did that successfully to pull off yet another excellent last over with yorkers & wide lines. For such a young bowler to have the right thought process and the execution of the same to hold her nerve is mighty impressive.
Tash Wakelin - The spin all-rounder from the Northern Districts has a very good batting technique and regularly chips in with 4 overs. She is progressing rapidly as an all-rounder and will have a slightly different role to play than what she did for the U-19 side. The skipper of the Northern Districts U-19 opened the innings, but in a side flocked with several top-order batting options, Wakelin is likely to bat in the middle-order.
Anna Browning - The opening batter from Auckland has delivered for the U-19s and she didn't leave any stone unturned in the Super Smash. Browning has one of the best techniques that will see her succeed in the future in the longer format of the game. With Wakelin in the side, Browning's role with the ball will be reduced and her batting at the top will be vital to set the tone.
Paige Loggenberg - Loggenberg is an intent++ batter. Her batting alongside Chloe Deerness in the last U-19 season for Otago was a definite attention-grabber. The pace all-rounder will be playing the finisher's role and chipping in with crucial overs.
Kate Chandler - Kate Chandler is a high-value all-rounder who is going to make her name well-known in this competition. She is a batter who bowls wrist spin & scores plenty of runs. Heard something similar before from some other New Zealand player? Yes, Chandler is quickly becoming the next Amelia Kerr and she represents Wellington too.
Georgia Plimmer - Plimmer has made her White Ferns debut already and it's because she was the standout player from the last New Zealand domestic season. It's a testament to her ability that saw her fast-tracked to the senior side. The young opener is very impressive and looks to take the bowlers head-on from Ball 1. Her impact in the powerplay will be vital in providing quick starts for New Zealand.
Fran Jonas - New Zealand does not have many left-arm orthodox spinners & they had to find someone potent who could fill-in the gap left by Morna Nielsen. Out of the few options they had, Jonas was the running favorite to take over & she has done just that. The young spinner will be operating in the PP and is destined to succeed. She wasn't a powerplay bowler, but has turned into one after the situation demanded her to bowl in this phase for Auckland in the 2021/22 season.
Underestimate this New Zealand side at your own peril. They are primed for success in this tournament and qualification for the semi-finals is the bare minimum height that they'd be scaling.