In Edgbaston, Birmingham: White Ferns 167-2 (Suzie Bates 91st out of 64, Sophie Devine 48th out of 40; Nonkululeko Mlaba 1-33) beat South Africa 154-7 (Chloe Tryon 39 of 17, Sune Luus 32 of 18; Devine 3-37) for 13 runs
Suzie Bates played one of the best twenty-two international innings of her long career as the White Ferns got off to a winning start at the Commonwealth Games.
New Zealand needed a win over South Africa to have the best possible chance of reaching the semi-finals and vying for a medal next weekend.
With Bates’s 91 out of 64 unbeaten run – complemented by Captain Sophie Devine’s 48 out of 40 – they did just that at Edgbaston in Birmingham, coming home for 13 runs.
Chloe Tryon threatened to rescue South Africa from an opening hole, but was eliminated after hitting 39 with just 17 balls after a scuffle with her captain, Sune Luus.
White Ferns finished 167-2 of their 20 overs as Melie Kerr was out 20-of-16 on the final ball of their innings and managed to get Proteas back at the start of the field.
At the end of the six-over power play, South Africa was 29-2 and the order rate was approaching 10 runs per over.
Kerr caught Mignon du Preez’s wicket as the equation went up more than 12 runs for an over – or two runs for a ball – and when Bates made a good catch to remove Laura Wolvaardt, the result looked set.
Tryon had other ideas, hitting three fours and three sixes before getting stuck when Luus refused a leg bye and Hayley Jensen completed the race in her own bowling alley.
Bates was released when she was 26 out of 27 and went on to add 65 out of 37 that followed, finishing with her third highest international T20 score.
She shared a 99 out of 80 partnership for the first wicket with Devine, then added 68 out of 40 with Kerr for the second.
Tryon’s 39 was Proteas’ highest score, with Luus making it 32 of 18 after she departed before dropping to penultimate with 23 of six still needed.
Devine took 3-37 from his four overs, while Jensen took 1-22 and Kerr 1-24.
The White Ferns’ next match is against Sri Lanka (first ball at 5am on Wednesday New Zealand time) and one win could be all they need to reach the semi-finals.
the big moment
Chloe Tyron has a reputation as a great hitter and she threatened to undo all the White Ferns’ good work by scoring more than two runs per ball en route to 39. While she was in the crease, the equation for her side was 107 out of 57 for 52 of 28, and his race was much celebrated by New Zealanders.
better with the stick
Suzie Bates took a while to get started and benefited from a missed reception before making a 91 for the win. With Amy Satterthwaite now retired after NZ Cricket failed to offer her a contract for the 2022-23 season, it is important that Bates fires as she did here.
better with the ball
The White Ferns used seven pitchers and while Sophie Devine caught three wickets, it was the savings of Hayley Jensen, who suffered fewer than six over-runs, and Melie Kerr, who suffered exactly six, that stood out.
the big picture
The victory over South Africa means the White Ferns must qualify for the semi-finals as early as this Wednesday. [NZ time], when they face Sri Lanka, a team that has never lost. A South African comeback from England earlier that day would delay that and create the possibility of a 3-3 draw, but the Proteas have lost that clash three times in a row before this tournament.
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