New Zealand skipper Sophie Devine admitted her disappointment over her side being unable to finish the way they wanted against South Africa in the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup. Batting first at Seddon Park, New Zealand were in a good position for a big finishing flourish with Devine inching closer towards her second century of the tournament.
But with Devine falling to a beautiful yorker from Ayabonga Khaka in the 41st over, New Zealand were unable to get the acceleration in the slog overs as South Africa made a strong comeback to keep the hosts to 228 all out in 47.5 overs. In reply, South Africa overcame a middle-order wobble to win by two wickets and hand New Zealand their third loss in the tournament.
“We spoke about keeping out their strike bowlers, how dangerous Ismail and Kapp are. Our runs rate was a little bit slower than normal. We did that in their first spell but a shade disappointed with the way we finished. Someone from our top four or five has to be there at the end and that should get us 280. If a set batter is there, we are getting 280,” said Devine in the post-match presentation ceremony.
Devine also felt that New Zealand weren’t bang-on with their line and lengths when defending 228. “We were probably too wide with our line. It is a learning curve for us executing with the ball but also how to set fields. There are million different things we can pick out in that game and do differently but at the end of the day credit has to go to South Africa.”
Devine showered praise on all-rounder Amelia Kerr, who made 42 at number three and picked 3/50 in ten overs of leg-spin.
“Amelia Kerr was outstanding, She drew energy and we know she is a real impact player, she picked up those two wickets and shifted the momentum. The games have been going down to the wire so if you stay in, anything can happen. We just kept crawling back in, cricket’s a funny game and we have seen in this tournament games are going to the wire.”
Devine signed off by saying that New Zealand’s focus will now immediately shift to a must-win game against England at Auckland on Sunday as the race for the semi-finals heats up.
“We have to move forward pretty quickly. We play England on Sunday and it is going to be a cracker of a game. They will be hurting as well and it is nice to see so many teams vying for the four spots.”