New Zealand skipper Sophie Devine lead from the front to help her side start the T20 World Cup on a winning note against Sri Lanka in Perth on Saturday. Devine’s unbeaten 75 guided New Zealand to a 7-wicket win over Sri Lanka with 14 balls to spare in their Group A match.
Sri Lanka, who were put into bat first by New Zealand, had a dismal batting show apart from their captain Chamari Atapattu. Sri Lanka at one stage were 87 for 2 but the middle-order collapse held them to a very ordinary total of 127.
Once Chamari was dismissed the New Zealand bowlers were all over the Lankan batting line-up.
Hayley Jensen starred for New Zealand with the bowl as she took two wickets in an over and finished with the match figures of 3 for 16. Out of 9 batters from the Sri Lankan team, only 4 of them could score in double digits.
New Zealand, on the other hand, lost an early wicket in the form of Rachel Priest, who fell prey to a brilliant fielding performance by Harshitha Madavi but inform captain Sophie Devine stood like a rock on the other side and made sure that she finished the game for her team.
Devine brought her 6th consecutive 50-plus score in the T20Is as she scored an unbeaten 75 in the match.
No other player, male or female, has ever hit more than four in a row in the format
“We knew we had to stay patient, we know the threat they possess at the top with Chamari. We didn’t bowl consistently enough, she got away and played some great shots. But we knew if we got some wickets, we could tighten the screw,” Devine said after the win.
“Perth is a little bit bouncier, but that’s no excuse, the way Hayley Jensen bowled was fantastic, she hit the deck hard and hit the top of the bat. Amelia [Kerr] is great for us, she has a calm head and it’s great to throw her the ball when they’re going well.”
“We’ve had some fantastic leaders, Suzie Bates, Amy Satterthwaite, and I want to be the same, to lead from the front. I’ve challenged myself to be more consistent over the last 12-18 months,” Devine added.