MATCH REPORT: New Zealand v Pakistan

Sophie Devine hit a record-breaking 9 sixes - the most ever for a women's ODI - in an innings of 93 off 41 balls, as New Zealand put Pakistan to the sword by 8 wickets in Taunton.

Devine's massive innings was an exhibition of range-hitting that wouldn't have looked out of place on a golf course. Coming in at 3, after Pakistan bagged the early wicket of Rachel Priest, Devine was quickly into her stride with a pair of huge sixes over mid on, one of which dented the advertising hoarding on the second tier of the pavilion stand where the New Zealand families were sitting.

Devine hit 7 fours along with her 9 sixes to reach her 93, before finally holing-out with just 2 more runs required - Amy Satterthwaite finishing the job for the White Ferns with the very next ball, leaving the field 38*.

Earlier in the day, Pakistan had opted to bat, having won the toss on a good looking wicket, with Suzie Bates admitting she would have made the same choice.

Openers Ayesha Zafar and Nahida Khan both made starts - reaching 17 and 18 respectively - before Zafar was dismissed by Leigh Kasperek - opening the bowling again for New Zealand. Zafar played a horrible cross-batted slog to a ball which she probably should have left well alone far outside off stump, and was caught by Hannah Rowe at mid on, playing her first World Cup match for New Zealand.

Kasperek grabbed her second shortly after, clean bowling Marina Iqbal playing inside one which pitched on off and just carried straight on.

Rowe was then thrown the ball by Suzie Bates and soon found herself on a hat trick after dismissing Javeria Khan LBW, with Nain Abidi following the same way the very next ball. The hat trick was not to be, but Rowe did grab a third wicket in a later spell - Kainat Imtiaz, caught by Katie Perkins at point - to seal the Player of the Match award.

Sana Mir offered some resistance to the Kiwi tide, completing her third international half-century, but no one was really capable of staying with her, and Pakistan were bowled out in the 47th over for 144 - not a disgrace, but not nearly enough, as Sophie Devine would go on to prove.

Afterwards, Sana Mir could only admire Devine's handiwork:

"There are a couple of players who can take the game away, like Sophie Devine did today. She played brilliantly, especially trying to contain her as a spinner in the powerplay overs with the new ball, it’s not very easy. I’ve bowled to a lot of batters, but the way she batted today, I think she was pretty special."

Devine meanwhile was asked about New Zealand's "high risk" brand of cricket:

"I don’t really see it as high risk. I back my ability and we all do - we back our skill sets... Whoever comes out, that’s their game, and it’s almost higher risk to not play your own style of cricket. Something we’ve really pushed in the last 2-3 years is playing that really aggressive style of cricket and backing ourselves to do it. You can sometimes get into trouble when you try and play a game that’s not yours."

Comments

  1. Phenomenal innings from Devine. Everything she hit just flew over the boundary, such a clean striker. New Zealand were impressive all-round, they didn't give too much away in the field either. I also thought their young bowlers Rowe and Kerr showed a lot of promise, and Bates showed the possibilities of opening the bowling with a spinner. It can really work and unsettle the batsmen who have to adjust more than against two Pacers. It's a tactic England should consider instead of a predictable 4 or 5 overs apiece from Brunt & Shrubsole.

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