Sophie Devine has put the rest of the cricketing world on notice, after blasting a spectacular 145 not out to help the New Zealand White Ferns thump South Africa by 151 runs in their opening Group B match of the ICC Women’s One Day World Cup at Driems Cricket Ground, Cuttack, India.
The White Ferns, and in particular Devine, wreaked havoc in the final ten of their 50 overs, adding a staggering 120 runs. It lifted them to a truly imposing total of 320 for five.
In reply 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 regular wickets throughout their innings meant that the White Ferns maintained the momentum.
Sian Ruck was the chief-wicket taker and the pick of the New Zealand bowlers, claiming match analysis of four for 31 from ten overs.
Ably supporting her was Morna Nielsen with three wickets in her seven overs for 34 runs, and Lea Tahuhu, who looked threatening throughout in her two for 27 from nine overs.
There were a handful of starts from the South African side, but the lack of a half-century or century when chasing 320 left them with little chance. Susan Benade was the top-scorer for her side with 37 from 45.
Earlier, the White Ferns had recovered from two for 28 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 succumbed in the 33rd over on 74, but her dismissal failed to stop a now rampant 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.
Make no mistake though, Devine held the lead role in this show and treated spectators to a magnificent display of clean hitting. The 23 year old 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 campaign. They’ll also be buoyed by the news that England were upset by Sri Lanka overnight, seriously damaging the defending champions’ chances of reaching the final.
The White Ferns next match is on Monday against Pakistan.