New Zealand 167 for 2 (Bates 91*, Devine 48, Mlaba 1-33) beat South Africa 154 for 7 (Tryon 39, Devine 3-37) by 13 runs
Suzie Bates and Sophie Devine showcased all their experience and class as they led New Zealand to victory over South Africa at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on Saturday. Bates led the charge with the bat with an unbeaten 91, while Devine first hit 48 and then picked up three wickets.
The duo of Bates and Devine set the foundation for the win with a 99-run opening stand for New Zealand, who handed international caps to Izzy Gaze and Eden Carson, plus a T20I debut to Fran Jonas. Devine fell two runs shy of her half-century, but then got among the wickets, including her 100th in T20Is, becoming the first woman and second overall - Shakib Al Hasan is the other - with 100 wickets and 2000 runs in the format.
A fighting 39 off just 17 balls from Chloe Tryon failed to get South Africa over the line despite fleeting hopes of a tight finish as their stuttering start and a steady stream of wickets proved costly.
It was Devine who made the early running at Edgbaston, racing to 35 off 20 balls as New Zealand ended the powerplay on 49 without loss after being asked to bat. She unleashed a stunning slog sweep behind square off Nonkululeko Mlaba for six and almost fell next ball attempting the same, but keeper Sinalo Jafta couldn't gather a tough bottom edge.
Devine took 14 off the next over, striking Ayabonga Khaka for two fours, before depositing a waist-high full-toss over the square-leg boundary. She eventually holed out to Tryon at long-on from the bowling of Mlaba, having faced 40 balls in which she hit four fours and two sixes.
When on 22, she hit Delmi Tucker straight to midwicket, where Khaka managed only to parry the ball overhead. Then there was a chance to run Bates out after she and Amelia Kerr both turned back, but Mignon du Preez pulled out of her throw, possibly concerned that Shabnim Ismail was in the way or that there was a lack of back-up despite Tryon being behind the stumps, albeit standing a fair way back.
Bates had started slowly, but she picked up speed as she went along, and brought up fifty pushing Anneke Bosch to deep midwicket and running two. It was her 22nd half-century in T20Is but first since February 2019, during India's tour of New Zealand.
She smashed a thunderous cover drive off Ismail for four to move to 67 and, three balls later, scooped her for six. In the final over, Bates sent a Khaka full-toss over the fence at deep square-leg, and then heaved a four through mid-on, and swung the penultimate delivery over fine leg for another six - her third of the innings. A total of 18 runs came off the final over, but Kerr was run-out on the last ball. By then, Bates had achieved her highest score in T20Is since her unbeaten 124 against South Africa in the 2018 tri-nation series in England.
South Africa's woes continue
South Africa endured a rocky lead-up to this tournament, with a multi-format series in England in which they were swept in both the ODI and T20I legs 3-0.
After Hayley Jensen had Bosch caught at cover by Bates in the second over, and Tazmin Brits hit Hannah Rowe straight to Brooke Halliday at midwicket, South Africa were 15 for 2 after four overs.
Du Preez was yet to score when she was put down at backward point by Carson off Lea Tahuhu, but her attempted sweep off Kerr sailed to Jonas at backward square and she was out for 26. Laura Wolvaardt made 28 off 30 balls before she fell, caught by Bates, running around to mid-on, off the bowling of Devine.
It wasn't all doom and gloom for South Africa, as they cashed in on some short bowling. Wolvaardt and, in particular, Tryon, made merry. Tryon smashed three sixes and three fours during her innings, helping herself to 17 runs off one Tahuhu over, which went for 21 in all. Largely through her efforts, South Africa were two runs ahead of New Zealand after 15 overs. But when Sune Luus flicked Jensen off her pads towards short cover and then sent Tryon back, Jensen gathered on her follow-through and threw down the stumps at the non-strikers' end with Tryon short of her ground. That left South Africa needing 52 runs off 27 balls.
Devine had Tucker caught by Carson at third for her 100th T20I wicket, and then had Luus caught by Halliday, to claim her third for the match. And, from there, the task proved too much for South Africa.