New Zealand 216 for 1 (Bates 124*, Devine 73) beat South Africa 150 (van Niekerk 58) by 66 runs
Less than 24 hours after England had scaled new heights in setting a men’s ODI record total of 481 for 6, New Zealand’s women picked up where they had left off in their own record smashing in Ireland last week. As if it was not enough to have posted the highest ODI total of them all – 490 for 4 – followed by Amelia Kerr’s individual record 232 not out, the White Ferns monstered a new T20-best total of 216 for 1, thanks largely to Suzie Bates’ turbo-charged innings of 124 not out from 66 bals.
After being asked to bat first in the opening match of the Women’s T20 in Taunton, New Zealand put the hammer down from the get-go against a lacklustre South Africa attack. Bates set the early tempo by reaching her fifty from 34 balls, and went on to add another women’s record – a first-wicket stand of 182 with Sophie Devine, who had been eyeing up a century of her own until she holed out to a juggling Tamzin Brits off Marizanne Kapp for 73 from 48 balls.
Bates, on the other hand, just kept on biffing – 16 fours and three sixes all told – and had she not been deprived of the strike in the final over, she would surely have overhauled Meg Lanning’s T20-highest innings of 126. As it was, she had to settle for joint-second on that particular list, having already gone past Charlotte Edwards’ record for the most career runs in women’s T20 history.
In reply, South Africa’s hopes rested on the broad shoulders of Lizelle Lee. But, having survived an excruciatingly tight lbw appeal early in her innings, she was bounced out by Devine, and caught down the leg side for 10.
Her departure opened the floodgates, as three more South African wickets fell in the space of seven balls for no runs. Bates’ remarkable day continued with two fine catches in the covers – a running effort to intercept a lofted drive from Laura Wolvaardt, and a stooping snaffle to remove Sune Luus for a second-ball duck. Tamzin Brits also holed out to cover – to Amy Satterthwaite on this occasion – to complete a sorry slump to 40 for 4.
But with England waiting in the wings to pick at South Africa’s carcass, Dane van Niekerk and Mignon du Preez showed that they weren’t quite finished yet. A battling 77-run stand for the fifth wicket saved face, if not the match, with van Niekerk top-scoring wth 58 from 44 balls before falling on the reverse sweep in the final over, with the contest already long out of reach.
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