Suzannah Wilson Bates: The Versatile Sporting Star of New Zealand

Suzannah Wilson Bates, born on 16 September 1987, is a name synonymous with excellence in the sporting world of New Zealand. While she is best known as a cricketer, her journey is marked by versatility and outstanding achievements across multiple sports.

Cricketing Glory

Bates’s cricketing prowess has made her a household name in New Zealand. Hailing from Dunedin, she has donned the national colors and represented the White Ferns with distinction. Her domestic cricket allegiance lies with the Otago Sparks, where she continues to shine as a true cricketing gem.

One of Bates’s remarkable feats in cricket is holding the record for the highest score and highest batting average in the New Zealand Women’s Twenty20 cricket team. Her consistency and ability to anchor innings have set her apart as one of the finest cricketers in the country.

In recognition of her stellar performances, Bates was crowned the ICC Women’s ODI Cricketer of the Year in 2013, a testament to her dominance in the One Day International format. She continued her dominance, claiming both the ICC Women’s ODI and T20I Cricketer of the Year titles in 2016, solidifying her status as a cricketing legend.

A Basketball Star

But cricket is just one chapter of Suzannah Bates’s sporting journey. She made her mark in basketball, representing New Zealand in Women’s basketball during the 2008 Summer Olympics. Her athleticism and skills on the basketball court were truly exceptional.

Notably, Suzie played professional basketball for the Christchurch Sirens in the Australian Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) and further showcased her basketball prowess with the Otago Gold Rush in 2009 and the Logan Thunder (WNBL) in the 2009/10 season.

In a testament to her dedication to basketball, Bates took on a new role as an assistant coach for the Otago Nuggets during the 2021 New Zealand NBL season, imparting her knowledge and experience to the next generation of basketball talents.

Cricketing Milestones

Returning to the cricket field, Bates’s journey has been marked by several milestones. On 8 June 2018, she etched her name in the record books by scoring her tenth century in Women’s One Day Internationals (WODIs), notching up an impressive 151 runs against Ireland. In the same match, she became the leading run-scorer for New Zealand Women in WODIs, surpassing Debbie Hockley’s illustrious record of 4,064 runs.

Continuing her incredible form, on 20 June 2018, during a match against South Africa Women in the 2018 England Women’s Tri-Nation Series, Bates achieved her maiden century in Women’s Twenty20 International cricket (WT20I). Simultaneously, she became the leading run-scorer in the format, overtaking Charlotte Edwards’ tally of 2,605 runs. Bates’s consistency in T20 cricket was further highlighted when she became the second woman, following Jenny Gunn, to reach the milestone of 100 WT20I matches.

A Central Contract and Leadership

In August 2018, Bates’s contributions to New Zealand cricket were acknowledged as she was awarded a central contract by New Zealand Cricket. Her dedication during the tours of Ireland and England played a significant role in securing this honor.

In September 2018, she stepped down from her role as captain of the New Zealand Women’s cricket team, a position she had held with distinction. Amy Satterthwaite took over the captaincy reins, while Bates continued to excel as a senior member of the squad.

T20 World Cup and Records

Bates’s stellar performances led to her inclusion in New Zealand’s squad for the 2018 ICC Women’s World Twenty20 tournament in the West Indies, where she was named as one of the players to watch. During the tournament, she achieved a historic milestone, becoming the first cricketer, male or female, to score 3,000 runs in Twenty20 International matches. She finished as the leading run-scorer for New Zealand in the tournament, amassing 161 runs in four matches and earning recognition from the International Cricket Council (ICC) as the standout player in the team.

Adelaide Strikers and World Cup Glory

In November 2018, Bates took her cricketing prowess to the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) as she joined the Adelaide Strikers for the 2018–19 season. Her presence added depth and experience to the squad.

In January 2020, she was named in New Zealand’s squad for the 2020 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in Australia, setting her sights on World Cup glory once again. In September 2020, Bates reached another milestone when she claimed her 50th wicket in WT20I cricket during a match against Australia.

Cricket Cricketer of the Decade

Bates’s exceptional contributions were recognized on the global stage when she was nominated for the Rachael Heyhoe-Flint Award for ICC Female Cricketer of the Decade. Her remarkable performances also earned her a nomination for the award of Women’s ODI Cricketer of the Decade.

World Cup Return and Super Smash Accolade

In February 2022, Suzannah Wilson Bates’s name was once again included in New Zealand’s team, this time for the 2022 Women’s Cricket World Cup, which was hosted in her home country, New Zealand.

Adding to her list of achievements, Bates was named the Super Smash Player of the Year at the annual Otago Cricket Awards in April 2022, showcasing her continued dominance in domestic cricket.

A Commonwealth Games Contender

The pinnacle of her career arrived in June 2022 when Bates was named in New Zealand’s team for the cricket tournament at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England. This selection is a testament to her unwavering commitment and enduring excellence.

Suzannah Wilson Bates’s journey is one of remarkable achievements and versatility. Her contributions to cricket, basketball, and coaching are a testament to her sporting prowess and dedication. As she continues to inspire aspiring athletes, her legacy in the world of sports is undoubtedly secured for generations to come.

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