Twenty20 World Cup: White Ferns to go down swinging as early exit looms in South Africa

The White Ferns are on the brink of an early exit from the Twenty20 World Cup, but vow to go down swinging in the hope of reaching an unlikely semi-final spot.

After back-to-back heavy defeats to reigning champions Australia and hosts South Africa, New Zealand responded with a much-needed win against Bangladesh. The 71-run triumph at Paarl significantly boosted their runrate, which will be vital to advancing to the knockout stages.

With Australia already assured as the top seeds from Group One, the race for second is on, with New Zealand, South Africa and Sri Lanka all still vying for the spot.

But the White Ferns' inferior runrate means they need to comprehensively dispatch Sri Lanka in their final match and hope Bangladesh stun South Africa if they are any chance.

Despite the odds stacked against them, White Fern Maddy Green reveals spirits are high in the team and they won't change their approach.

"We know there's only one way to play and that's attacking, and we've got to try and boost our run rate as quickly as possible," she said.

"We spoke about just trying to score as many runs and put as many on the board as we can, and play a style of cricket that reflects that.

"The wicket yesterday was fantastic from a batting point of view, so that really helped us in that regard. We know, against Sri Lanka, we've got to try and put on a similar performance, if we've got any sort of chance of making those semi-finals.

"The rest of it is out of our control, but we're trying to play that style of cricket that gives us a chance and the girls certainly believe that we are still a chance in this tournament."

Standing between the White Ferns and a semi-final berth are the surprise packages of the T20 World Cup - Sri Lanka.

After a shock win over South Africa in their opening match, they are in the boxseat to advance to the semi-finals, as they hold a two-point advantage over the hosts and New Zealand.

Suzie Bates loses her wicket against South Africa
Suzie Bates loses her wicket against South Africa. Photo credit: Getty Images

But while most didn't fancy their chances of progressing past the group, their form has come as little surprise to Green, as the two teams prepare to play on Monday.

"I don't think they've surprised me too much," she said. "They're a side that's got some great players.

"Obviously, their captain Chamari Athapaththu has been a really good player for a long period of time and her ability to have an impact on the game goes up the shorter the format is - particularly T20 cricket.

"She hits the ball really hard and her performance against South Africa in their first pool game, she was absolutely fantastic and she's a key wicket for us tomorrow.

"They've got some really good bowlers in their side, who bowl with a lot of accuracy and make it difficult to score, so for us, it's about how we counteract that and put pressure back on their bowlers.

"We've got to make sure we take wickets early with the ball and put some pressure on their middle order. 

"They're an improving side, we've seen that in the last couple of T20 tournaments, and obviously in Australia as well, I thought they played really well.

"No surprises they're going to be a tough side to beat, but we know we have a play an attacking brand of cricket and give ourselves the best chance to go forward in this tournament."