By Sneha Rajaram
This is New Zealand’s fourth win in four matches, making them the first team to qualify for the semifinals. They are now officially terrifying. So here are the highlights of yesterday’s match.
New Zealand won the toss and opted to field first. Aaand:
You can’t be that careful in a T20! The power play was what sealed South Africa’s fate to a large extent. After these first six crucial overs, when they could have hit a lot more runs, they were 23 for 1, with a run rate of 3.83.
The Sophie Devine domino effect: The batting order just collapsed. After New Zealand’s energetic fielding during the power play, these wickets clinched it for them. Formidable all-rounder and medium pacer Sophie Devine (who, by the way, has played hockey for New Zealand too), over 19, balls 2, 3 and 6 – out, out and out, respectively. On ball 3, the audience screamed for a hattrick, but Devine wasn’t about to try anything stupid.
Speaking of: New Zealand’s fielding was a pleasure to watch. The coordination, the energy, the enthusiasm – do yourself a big favour and watch their next match.
But it wasn’t all blood and tears: South Africa opener Dane van Niekerk managed three fours in three consecutive overs, two of which were off the intimidating Morna Nielsen, who came out of the innings with a run rate of 4 off 4 overs. Way to go, van Niekerk! And at 80/5, in the 17th over, all-rounder Chloe Tryon finally hit a six off Lea Tahuhu. The Chinnaswamy stadium audience (far larger than at the last match with England vs Bangladesh) loved it, despite being clearly for New Zealand. But sadly, that was the only six of the match.
Priest and Bates: At first it looked like the power play overs would be dead in this innings too, with fast bowler Shabnim Ismail and medium pacer Moseline Daniels taking the bowling lead. But openers Rachel Priest, 28(28), and Suzie Bates, 29(25), started smashing the ball around from the third over onwards.
Finally, one bites the dust: Surprise wicket in the ninth over: Bates was caught off a ball by Masabata Klaas. Captain Mignon du Preez set an example for her team with this absolutely brilliant catch.
Two hands up for Devine: The 13th over brought a six by none other than … you guessed it … the formidable Sophie Devine. 27 for 17 not out, taking 3 wickets in a single over – seriously, she makes you wonder what you’ve done with your life. Sophie, we’re rooting for you all the way through the tournament and beyond. Cricket needs you. Please don’t go back to hockey!
Moral of the story:
Captain Suzie Bates’ tone was grave in the post-match press conference, in complete contrast to her team’s energy on the field. When asked what New Zealand’s secret was, she said, “I don’t think there’s any real secret, I think we’re just confident in our group.” Ladies, there you have it: confidence, confidence, confidence.
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