New Zealand Women produced a quality batting display to beat the Proteas Women by 69 runs at the Basin Reserve on Monday to earn an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-match T20I series.
The second-wicket partnership – a record for New Zealand in international T20 history – between Sophie Devine and Suzie Bates was the catalyst in their side’s win over the Proteas Women.
Sophie Devine was in impeccable form yet again as she top-scored with 105 to power the Ferns to a series win as she smashed three sixes and 12 fours in a 65-ball innings with the hosts posting a mammoth total of 171-2. It was Devine’s highest individual innings in T20 internationals.
The Proteas, in response, got nowhere close, all out for 102 after 17 overs with Lizelle Lee the only notable performer with 25 (22) and Anna Peterson taking 3-22, as the series was comfortably one by New Zealand.
After winning the toss, Dane van Niekerk opted to bowl first and that proved to be the call the hosts were after as they ran riot with the bat from the outset. Shabnim Ismail (1-21) momentarily slowed down the rate as she clean bowled Lauren Down for 11 (9) in the third over to leave the hosts 27-1.
That wicket proved to be the start for the scene of carnage as Devine and Bates cleared the boundary with ease to leave the Proteas bowlers dumbfounded. The pair, who have been instrumental in their side’s display in the T20I series, continued their impressive batting exhibition. They overhauled their previous best partnership with the record second-wicket partnership of 142, which proved to be the bedrock of the highest total in this series.
The Proteas just failed to fire in their chase of the 172 target and were no match for the hosts.
The opening pair of Lizelle Lee and Laura Wolvaardt opened up and tried to get a positive start with three boundaries in the early stages, but when the latter fell and was followed by Sune Luus 16 (14) and Lee in quick succession the visitors were up against it. Proteas captain Van Niekerk 10 (12) and Mignon du Preez 14 (12) worked on steadying the ship to get them back in the game. The pair opened up as they smashed a couple of boundaries and at 70-4 with 10 overs gone, it was writ large that the required rate was nowhere within their reach. And, in the end, South Africa fell short at 102 all out.
The teams will now head to Dunedin where the last match of the T20I series will played, with both teams hoping to end on high ahead of the women’s T20 cricket showpiece in Australia.
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