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Bates and all-round Devine give New Zealand victory over team SA in Commonwealth Games

BIRMINGHAM: A notable half-century from Suzie Bates and Sophie Devine’s all-action performance helped New Zealand claim the first points on offer in Group B with a 13-run victory over Team South Africa in the 2022 Commonwealth Games T20 Cricket competition in Birmingham on Saturday.

Bates recorded an unbeaten 91 off 64 deliveries, including eight fours and three sixes in a 99-run, first-wicket partnership with Devine, who fell two runs short of a half-century on 48 off 40 balls (4 fours, 2 sixes) as the White Ferns posted 167 / 2. South Africa were then restricted to 154 / 7 despite late cameos from Chloé Tryon (39) and Suné Luus (32), with Devine bagging figures of three for 37.

After winning the toss, South Africa elected to bowl first to put their opponents into bat as Devine and Bates went on to lay a solid foundation for their side, notching up a 50-run stand for the first wicket, including a steady score of 49 / 0 at the end of the powerplay.

With the opening pair looking comfortable at 77 / 0 at the halfway mark, South Africa finally made the all-important breakthrough as Nonkululeko Mlaba continued her bright form with the ball to dismiss Devine for a well-played 48 off 40 balls (4 fours, 2 sixes), ending a 99-run partnership.

 

Despite losing her partner, Bates took on the mantle of the aggressor at the crease as she recorded her 22nd career fifty in T20 International (T20I) cricket before upping the ante in a half-century stand alongside Amelia Kerr (20).

The experienced top-order batter smashed five boundaries, including three sixes in the last two overs to help propel New Zealand to a commendable total of 167 / 2, with Kerr run out on the final ball of the innings.

Mlaba was the only wicket-taker for South Africa, while Chloé Tryon (2 / 20) and Shabnim Ismail (0 / 29) stood out without picking up a wicket.

In the defence of their first innings total, New Zealand made an impressive start with ball in hand to remove both South African openers, Anneke Bosch (3) and Tazmin Brits (6), within the first four overs to leave them 15 / 2.

Those two wickets brought the reliable Laura Wolvaardt (28) and the evergreen Mignon du Preez (26) to the crease, as the duo combined well for a stabilizing 46-run stand for the third wicket before Kerr (1 / 24) and Devine struck in quick succession as New Zealand regained control of the contest.

With South Africa in trouble on 74 / 4 in the 13th over, still needing 94 runs to win, Tryon and Luus walked to the middle and were immediately under pressure to score runs. Tryon did not waste any time as she dispatched three fours and three maximums on her way to a destructive 17-ball 39 before she was unfortunately run out.

Despite producing a few lusty blows in her stint worth 32 runs from 18 deliveries (5 fours), skipper Luus was the last wicket to fall in the penultimate over, all but ending South Africa’s chase, as they eventually finished on 154 / 7 with New Zealand claiming a 13-run triumph to go top in Group B.

Devine ended the innings with a return of three for 37 in her four overs with the ball, while Hannah Rowe (1 / 14) and Hayley Jensen (1 / 22) also picked up one wicket apiece.

Team South Africa will play their second match of the Games on Tuesday, 02 August against the home side, England from 11h00 local time (12h00 SAST).

 

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