Suzie Bates scored her maiden T20I century. ©SomersetCCC

New Zealand continued with their free-flowing scoring that has epitomised their Northern tour. They dispatched South Africa in the first of the Vitality T20 tri-series, at Taunton. It was New Zealand’s captain fantastic Suzie Bates who put the South African bowlers to the sword. New Zealand won the game convincingly by 66 runs.

In full flow, there are few players that are thrilling to watch as Bates, and she used her blade to full effect to help her side to 216 for 1 from their 20 overs.

It was hard work for the South Africa bowlers, as Bates got stuck in with three consecutive fours in the second over to put South Africa on the back foot. It wasn’t to be the end of Bates’s boundary hitting. In her innings of 66 balls, she scored 124 not out that included 16 fours and 3 sixes.

Sophie Devine was insistent that she got in on the act and shared in an opening partnership of 182. Devine scored more sixes than Bates with four which included two sixes in an over by Dane van Niekerk. Devine was eventually out as was dismissed by Marizanne Kapp who was, as usual, the most economical bowler.

It was always going to be difficult for South Africa to maintain a run-rate over ten an over. That was made harder when the player they count on Lizelle Lee was dismissed for just 10.

van Niekerk has been in good form with the bat of late and she tried in vain to keep her side in this contest with 58 from 44 balls. Unfortunately for van Niekerk and South Africa, New Zealand had already won the game with the bat. Usually batting second 150 for 6 would have been a winning score.

Bates is a player of real class and South Africa’s plan of putting New Zealand under pressure to set a score backfired.