Cricket: Kiwis thump SA in World Cup opener

Sophie Devine. Photo / Getty Images
Sophie Devine. Photo / Getty Images

Sophie Devine blasted a spectacular 145 not out to help New Zealand to a commanding 151-run win over South Africa in their opening Group B match of the women's World Cup in India overnight.

The White Ferns, and in particular Devine, plundered 120 runs in their final 10 overs to score an imposing total of 320 for five. South Africa never really threatened the target and were eventually dismissed for 170 after 41 overs.

It was always going to be a big ask to overcome a total of 300-plus for South Africa and they lost regular wickets throughout their innings.

Sian Ruck was the chief wicket-taker and the pick of the New Zealand bowlers, claiming 4-31 from her 10 overs. Morna Nielsen chimed in with 3-34 and Lea Tahuhu claimed 2-27 from nine overs.

Earlier, New Zealand recovered from 28-2 with a 127-run third-wicket partnership between Devine and captain Suzie Bates. The pair wrestled back control and nullified their opposition's strong start with a balance of patience and aggression, as they returned the run-rate to above four an over.

Bates went for 74 but her dismissal failed to stop Devine from picking apart the bowling attack at will. She was aided by a couple of well-timed cameos, with Sara McGlashan contributing 32 from 36 and Nicola Browne joining the demolition at the end of the innings with a quick-fire 40 from 20 balls.

Devine was particularly ruthless and took 22 off the first four balls of the penultimate over, including three towering sixes. In the end she finished with 13 fours, six sixes and a strike-rate of 110.68.

It was a commanding victory by the White Ferns and the perfect way to start their World Cup campaign.

They were also buoyed by news England were upset by Sri Lanka overnight, seriously damaging the defending champions' chances of reaching the final.

New Zealand face Pakistan on Monday.

- APNZ

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