Cricket World Cup: White Ferns veteran Suzie Bates firmly focused on 'massive' tournament opener against Australia

The White Ferns still have a Twenty20 World Cup warm-up match to play, but veteran Suzie Bates can't help but think ahead to their tournament opener against Australia.

With the Group A match scheduled for Sunday (NZ time), New Zealand will play England on Wednesday in their last hitout, before tackling their trans-Tasman rivals.

While hosts South Africa and Asian outfits Sri Lanka and Bangaldesh will provide tricky opposition for the White Ferns to get out of the group, Bates reveals their focus is firmly on besting the defending champions.

"For me, personally, as soon as we got to Cape Town, that game's been at the forefront of mind, and everything we've done has been about preparing for that and making sure we're ready to fire that first game," she said.

"It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. It's a massive first match and we know we have had the wood over the Australians in first games at World Cups in the past.

"I think it's the best time to play them sometimes. We're definitely as well prepared as we can be and we've been over in these conditions, so we're giving us the best chance.

"We know they're world class and they've won every pinnacle event in the last 3-4 years that I've been part of. They're a quality side, but with that comes pressure and expectation, and we know we've competed well against them recently.

"We've got an Australian as our head coach who knows them inside and out, and I thought at the Commonwealth Games, for the most part, we had them on the backfoot.

"We know when we put our best foot forward, that we can beat them on any day, but we also know that they got so much depth and if you don't play your best, you get found out.

"I think, come Wednesday, when we compete against England, that's going to give us a huge amount of confidence going into Saturday, and we'll be ready and we'll give it our best shot."

New Zealand have received a timely boost before their opener against Australia, with injured captain Sophie Devine poised to take part.

The White Ferns skipper has been nursing a stress fracture, but could take the field against England in preparation.

 "She's been making really good progress," Bates said. "She's been doing a lot more every day and I think the plan is that she will have a go on Wednesday.

"I'm not sure if she'll play the entire match, but the plan is to have her fully fit for that Australian game. We've been managing her and they've probably been on the cautious side. 

"Every day, she's doing more and more, so it's about trying to hold her back to make sure that she's good to go [against Australia]."

Join us at 6am Sunday for live updates of the White Ferns v Australia World Cup opener