New Zealand 151 for 2 (Devine 68*, Bates 62) beat South Africa 148 for 6 (Tryon 35) by eight wickets

New Zealand booked their place in Sunday’s tri-series final, and brought England along with them in the process, as they eased to an eight-wicket victory over a lacklustre South Africa in the first of their T20 double-headers at Bristol.

It was a must-win encounter for South Africa, who had always been up against it after a pair of record-breaking beatings in the opening round of tri-series fixtures in Taunton. And despite winning the toss and batting first, they struggled to make headway in a stodgy innings of 148 for 6, enlivened only in the latter stages by a breezy 15-ball 35 from Chloe Tryon.

It was no sort of score to challenge New Zealand’s hard-hitting top-order, and Suzie Bates and Sophie Devine make sure there would be no recourse in an opening stand of 130 in 13.2 overs.

Bates brought up her fifty from 39 balls and Devine from 31, and neither really needed to extend themselves in the process. There were a pair of late consolation wickets as Bates snicked a drive through to Lizelle Lee behind the stumps for 62 before Katey Martin was bowled by Zintle Mali for 10. But two more fours in as many balls from Devine, including a lofted flog over the covers, sealed the contest with 4.4 overs to spare.

In the absence of Shabnim Ismail, who withdrew with injury before the toss, South Africa’s bowlers were lacking in its usual depth. With the bat, they had started with cautious intent, adding 40 for the first wicket before Lizelle Lee fell on the pull to square leg, whereupon Sune Luus was run out at the non-striker’s end without addition.

Amelia Kerr, the talk of the women’s game after her record-smashing exploits in Ireland, added two wickets in two overs to account for South Africa’s middle order. And though Tryon tried her best, the result was hardly in doubt.

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