Less than 30 minutes after New Zealand’s Commonwealth Games semi-final defeat, Suzie Bates had already pushed aside their tough loss to Australia.
With just a 12-hour turnaround until the bronze medal match against England, the White Ferns could not afford to waste any time dwelling on the ‘what ifs’ of their final-over loss.
The concept of a third-placed playoff is a novel one for cricketers, who are generally accustomed to boarding the next plane home after a semi-final defeat.
After Saturday’s semi-finals, it prompted the question: would you rather be England, losing a morning semi-final you were fancied to win in front of a home crowd, then left with an afternoon and evening to ponder what went wrong before turning up at Edgbaston the next morning?
Or New Zealand, unfancied underdogs who nevertheless pushed favorites Australia on Saturday night, but were then left with just a 12-hour break to try and recover, hit the ice baths and then get some sleep before the bronze medal match at 10am the next morning. ?
“I think as soon as (coach) Ben Sawyer spoke to us, I was like, I can’t even think about that (semi-final),” Bates told reporters immediately after the loss to Australia.
“It’s all tomorrow. There’s no point (dwelling on it) and that’s what I was saying to the girls, you can reflect on that after the tournament, not right now.
“It’s just about getting ourselves ready for tomorrow… and it does give us less time to even dwell on anything.”
And while a third-placed playoff might seem the poor cousin to a shot at gold, there is no denying the desire of both England and New Zealand to still walk away from these Commonwealth Games with something tangible to show for it.
After all, it is their first appearance at a multi-sport event, and an experience unlike any they have previously had at a World Cup.
“Playing for a medal is something that we’ve wanted to do ever since we heard about the Commonwealth Games,” England captain Natalie Sciver said following their loss to India.
“(We’re) gutted really. It’ll be a tough afternoon, there’ll be a few quiet people.
“It’s tough to take any loss, really, but when we obviously wanted to be in the gold medal match… it’s going to be tough to take.
“But we’ll hopefully review as quickly as we can and then really be able to park that and go out with the same freedom and attitude that we have been doing tomorrow.”
2022 Commonwealth Games
Australia’s squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Darcie Brown, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Grace Harris, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Amanda- Jade Wellington
See all the Commonwealth Games cricket squads here
Group A: Australia, India, Pakistan, Barbados
Group B: England, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka
July 29: Australia beat India by three wickets
July 31: Australia beat Barbados by nine wickets
August 3: Australia beat Pakistan by 44 runs
Semi-finals: August 6
India defeated England by four runs
Australia beat New Zealand by five wickets
Bronze medal match: England v New Zealand, August 7, 10am local (7pm AEST)
Gold medal match: Australia v India, August 7, 5pm local (2am Aug 8 AEST)
All matches played at Edgbaston Stadium. Watch live or on demand via 7Plus