Sophie Devine scored 145 runs to help New Zealand (White Ferns) to a 151-run victory over the Momentum Proteas Women in their opening match of the ICC Women's World Cup 2013 in Cuttack on Friday. The Kiwis' superior show with the bat saw then end their innings with 321 runs after they were put in to bat first by Mignon du Preez.
South Africa started off well. Lucy Doolan's was the first wicket to go after she was clean bowled by Marizanne Kapp for two. She was soon followed by Amy Satterthwaite, who was run out by the incredibly fast hands of du Preez in the eighth over. The White Ferns were 27/2 when captain, Suzie Bates and Devine joined up at the crease and proceeded to score runs at a meaningful pace after the latter was dropped on 11. They shared a 128-run stand before Bates was caught behind off the bowling of Yolandi Potgieter for 73.
Devine moved along, playing the anchor role in her 64-run partnership with Sara McGlashan (32), before she was bowled by Chloe Tryon. It remained business as usual when Nicola Brown came to the crease. She and Devine ploughed through the bowling attack and took advantage of the misfields. They ended their innings with a 102-run partnership for the fifth wicket, with Devine losing her wicket off Shabnim Ismail's final ball.
Bates was a happy captain, she was especially delighted by the manner in which her batters handled themselves in tight situations. She said: "I'm really pleased to get the first win. It was pretty tough at first this morning and to get the game away from them like we did was really satisfying. Sophie was absolutely phenomenal. She got us to a score that we never expected to get to after the way we started. The bowling was made much easier just because we had so many runs on the board."
South Africa's reply was not good enough. They were 74/5 in the 19th over after losing Savanna Cordes for a duck off the third ball of their innings, followed by Potgieter (8) in the sixth over and Marizanne Kapp (10). Du Preez and Cri-Zelda Brits (23) shared a 24-run partnership before the skipper was trapped lbw for 29.
They lost the wickets of Brits, Dané van Niekerk (1) and Tryon (4) in 12 balls to leave the Proteas wilting on 82/7 in the 21st over. Shabnim Ismail (31) shared a 71-run, eighth wicket partnership with Susan Benade (37) to pick up the innings and steer it towards a respectable ending.
Du Preez was disappointed by her side's performance but is still optimistic about their chances in the competition.
"We had chances here and there to take wickets but we did not take them. Our fielding was not up to scratch and neither was our batting but I still believe that we can put this match behind us and forge ahead to the next game. We said we would take this tournament game by game and we will continue to do just that," she commented.
South Africa face a formidable Australian side on Sunday. They come from beating Pakistan by 91 runs today but Du Preez remains positive.
"It's not about whom we play," she said. "We're just going to go out there and play cricket, stick to the basics and focus on ourselves, rather than whom we are about to face.