Rowe and Devine mow down Pakistan
Sophie Devine pummeled a record nine sixes during her 41-ball 93 as New Zealand knocked Pakistan out of contention for the semi-finals
New Zealand have thrived on a set template this World Cup: rout the opposition for a low score and mow down the target. That template fetched New Zealand their third win
and took them a step closer to the semi-finals. The result also meant Pakistan were the first team to be dumped out of the tournament after five defeats in as many matches.
Offspinner Leigh Kasperek
and seamer Hannah Rowe
, who was on the verge of a hat-trick at one point, claimed combined figures of 19-2-57-5 to bundle Pakistan out for 144 - their fourth successive sub-150 score in the World Cup. Sophie Devine
then made a mockery of the target, narrowly missing out on the fastest century in Women's ODIs during her 41-ball 93. She, however, did break the record for the most sixes in an innings - hitting nine, including eight in the arc between midwicket and long-on. New Zealand sealed victory with eight wickets and 210 balls to spare and sounded out a stern warning to the other sides.
Only hours after South Africa's Lizelle Lee had smote seven sixes in Leicester
to equal the record, Devine rewrote it. The carnage began when Devine clubbed seamer Kainat Imtiaz for three successive boundaries in the fourth over, after previous match-winner Rachel Priest had been dismissed. Devine meted out the same treatment to Diana Baig as New Zealand spliced 43 runs off the target in five overs. Devine continued on her merry way, reaching fifty off 27 balls. A hundred seemed a possibility before she checked a slog-sweep and top-edged a return catch to left-arm spinner Nashra Sandhu with New Zealand two away from the win.
, who proved the ideal foil for the rampaging Devine, laid out the finishing touches with a slapped four. The mammoth win propelled New Zealand's net-run rate from 1.520 to 2.301.
Pakistan, though, had started positively with the openers Ayesha Zafar and Nahida Khan putting on 35 for the first wicket. They showed urgency and dispatched the bad balls before Kasperek broke through. She got one to drift away and had Zafar dragging a catch to mid-on. She did not turn the ball much, like Thursday, but kept drifting it sharply, making you wonder if batsmen would be better off treating her like a legspinner. In her next over, Kasperek bowled Marina Iqbal for a duck.
The spotlight then turned to Rowe, who was making her World Cup bow. She looked anxious in her first over, erring in lines and lengths, but proved her worth in her second. She trapped Javeria Khan and Nain Abidi off successive deliveries that pitched on an in-between length and nipped back in. When 16-year-old Amelia Kerr bowled Nahida around her legs with a dipping legbreak, Pakistan were 56 for 5 in 16 overs.
A full-blown collapse loomed, but Sana Mir
, featuring in her 100th ODI, made a measured fifty to save Pakistan the blushes. She first added 28 with Iram Javed, the injured Bismah Maroof's replacement
, then 35 with wicketkeeper Sidra Nawaz.
Mir had dug in before scoring her first boundary off her 32nd ball when she manufactured room and drilled seamer Lea Tahuhu past mid-off. She opened up further and brought up her third ODI fifty off 83 balls in the 42nd over. However, she departed in the next over when she flapped a pull back to Tahuhu, the bowler. Pakistan were eventually bowled out in 46.5 overs. The nightmare, though, wasn't over for them. They woke up to Devine.
Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo