The New Zealand Women side have tightened their grip on the five-match T20I series against the Proteas Women, after securing a comfortable five-wicket win in the second game on Thursday in Hamilton.
After winning the toss and opting to bowl first, the hosts were rewarded early with the key wicket of Lizelle Lee (2) who was trapped leg before without troubling the score. Soon after it was the wickets of young duo Nadine de Klerk 9 (16) and Laura Wolvaardt 22 (18) who were both dismissed by Sophie Devine.
The Proteas Women were looking for a competitive total and it looked like they were on course when Dane van Niekerk and Mignon du Preez combined for the fourth-wicket partnership of 50 runs in 36 balls and at least got the Proteas past 100, but they fell well short of a competitive total at 120 all out from their 20 overs.
The hosts did well not to buckle under pressure when the fourth- wicket partnership looked set and a disciplined bowling display from experienced campaigner Leah Tahuhu (2-10) was the difference as she got the key wickets of van Niekerk 25 (22) and Chloe Tryon (0) in quick succession to further halt the Proteas innings and then restricted them. Mignon du Preez was the standout batter for the visitors with an inspiring 40 off 26 balls.
The Proteas bowling duo of Shabnim Ismail and Ayabonga Khaka started well with the ball in their defense and beat the bat regularly early on as they grabbed the wickets of Rachel Priest (5) and Suzie Bates (7) to give the visitors some hope.
However, for the second time in their chase it was the home team’s captain, Sophie Devine, who was vital to the White Ferns’ victory with a brilliant batting performance. She hit an impressive 61 off 43 balls that took the game away from South Africa. The skipper was well supported by Maddy Green 23 (20) and the pair shared a third-wicket stand of 50 runs in 45 balls that gave the White Ferns the advantage they needed.
Devine continued hitting out but her aggressive mood led to her dismissal, caught while trying to hit leg spinner Sune Luus over the deep mid-wicket boundary. That made for a nervy finish as the Proteas started to believe.
Katie Perkins did not last long (5) as she was trapped lbw to give Khaka (2-24) her second wicket, while Green (23) was caught in the covers by Luus off the bowling of the Proteas captain.
Katey Martin (10*) brought some calm to the crease with a couple of boundaries towards the end as the hosts gained the momentum and cruised to a comfortable victory and well-earned 2-0 advantage in the series.
The third T20I will be played on Sunday at the Basin Reserve in Wellington, where the Proteas Women will be looking for a much-improved performance to make a positive comeback in this contest.
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