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England vs New Zealand: Maia Bouchier says enjoying cricket is helping her thrive at the top



England vs New Zealand: Maia Bouchier says enjoying cricket is helping her thrive at the top

Maia Bouchier says enjoyment is an important element to her success as an opener for England as the hosts eye up an ODI series victory against New Zealand at Worcester on Sunday.

Bouchier and Tammy Beaumont shared a 137-run opening partnership in England’s nine-wicket victory over the White Ferns in the first of three ODI matches on Wednesday.

The 25-year-old has been in great form, amassing a total of 293 runs during England’s multi-format white-ball tour of New Zealand in April, leading her to getting selected ahead of Sophia Dunkley for the Pakistan tour in May.

“Tammy was amazing and we both said that we really love batting together and it was so important that we kept that element of enjoyment in there as well,” Bouchier said.

“We’re at the top of our sport and sometimes we can let pressure get to us and if we stop letting ourselves enjoy playing cricket, it actually can really affect you mentally.

“I think as a team, we all really know each other very well and know when things can start to nip at us so I think it’s important to go out there and enjoy our training because it’s really intense and high intensity.

“We want to make sure we keep enjoying it as well because that will just transfer onto the pitch. Being together as a team you always get a buzz and excitement and we feed off the adrenaline from each other and that always helps.

“We’re expecting to have big crowds at Worcester, I think we’re sold out which is so exciting. We’re going to feed off that as a team so being able to enjoy it too is really important.”

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Highlights of England’s victory over New Zealand in the first ODI.

Bouchier is looking to embody head coach Jon Lewis and captain Heather Knight’s message of being ruthless and has redefined her understanding of what it means to take risks.

“I’m in a very good space at the moment, mentally and physically and that plays a massive part in how I’m doing on the pitch, the preparation, and my training as well, which is going really well at the moment,” Bouchier said.

“I’m hoping to transfer what I’ve been working on to my performance on the pitch again and do it consistently because my performance has given me a lot of confidence which is really nice.

“I don’t think there is a perfect performance ever, but that was the highest standard that we want to keep to be ruthless in any sort of situation.

“There’s an element of risk-taking, especially at the top of the order, but what we thought at the start was we had to go out and play all the shots, hit fours and sixes all the time.

“But I think as we’ve grown as a team and grown into this philosophy that Lewis brought on to us, it’s actually about how we put pressure on the bowlers from the start and give them a really small margin that they can bowl to.

“We want to play the bowlers to our strengths and apply pressure by rotating the strike and waiting for them to make a mistake.”

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England bowl out New Zealand for 156 in their first ODI at the Riverside Ground.

After their series against New Zealand, Knight’s side will play Ireland in September in another multi-series format before flying out to Bangladesh for the T20 World Cup in October, ahead of the Ashes in January, as well as the franchise cricket in between.

Bouchier admitted she felt overwhelmed at the amount of cricket scheduled this year but has reframed her thinking and is adopting a more positive outlook now.

“Going into this year I felt a little bit overwhelmed, but only because we see the schedule and we see how much we’re playing, but actually if we break it down a little bit, it’s not too bad,” Bouchier added.

“It’s really good we’re playing so much cricket, it’s really exciting and all I want to be doing is playing as much as I can and now we’re going into the next couple of months with a lot of preparation under our belts.”

England can secure victory in the ODI leg of New Zealand’s tour with victory in the second of the three-match series on Sunday, June 30. That match at Worcester’s New Road starts at 11am and is live on Sky Sports Cricket.

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