Devine's blitz helps New Zealand to comfortable victory

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Devine's blitz helps New Zealand to comfortable victory


New Zealand thumped South Africa by nine wickets at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui in the first match of the five-match T20I series on Sunday (February 2). Sophie Devine starred with the bat scoring an unbeaten 54 after Leigh Kasperek and Amelia Kerr picked up two wickets each to restrict South Africa to just 116.

Inserted in to bat, South Africa started well as their openers Lizelle Lee and Laura Wolvaardt collected 17 runs off the first two overs. The in-form duo continued where they left off in the ODIs, taking toll on New Zealand's early wayward bowling. Just when things were going their way, Lee departed for 17. Leigh Kasperek provided the much-needed breakthrough for New Zealand by breaking the 36-run stand. South Africa finished the power play at 42 for the loss of one wicket.

Nadine de Klerk walked in at number three and struggled to rotate the strike. She then finally managed to get going by hitting three boundaries. Her joy, though, was short-lived as Amelia Kerr sent her back for 23. Soon, some tight bowling by Hayley Jensen led to Wolvaardt's dismissal for 33.

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Some more wickets in the middle, including the run outs of Chloe Tryon (zero) and Mignon du Preez (20) saw South Africa finish on seven for 116. For New Zealand, Kasperek and Kerr picked up two wickets each.

Chasing a modest target, New Zealand openers Rachel Priest and Devine started well. Both batted in the middle order during the ODI series, which saw New Zealand devoid of any momentum at the start. While Priest started off by hitting Shabnim Ismail for a four and six, Devine joined in by taking a special liking to Ayabonga Khaka. She scored 18 runs off the sixth over bowled by her, bringing up their fifty-run stand inside the power play.

Soon, Tumi Sekhukhune was brought into the attack and she struck by breaking the 75-run opening stand - New Zealand's highest since June 2018. She sent back Priest for 37, who was stumped by Trisha Chetty.

Meanwhile, Devine continued to go big and she brought up her fifty off just 27 balls - the second-fastest in T20Is. Along with Suzie Bates (18 not out), she managed to take the Kiwis home with 46 balls to spare.

Brief  Scores: South Africa  116/7 in 20 overs  (Laura Wolvaardt 33, Nadine de Klerk 23; Amelia Kerr 2-17, Leigh Kasperek 2-17) lost to New Zealand 117/1 in 12.2 overs (Sophie Devine 54*, Rachel Priest 37) by nine wickets.