Women's T20 World Cup 2020: Sophie Devine, Hayley Jensen shine as New Zealand trump Sri Lanka
- Sophie Devine completed her sixth consecutive score of fifty-plus in T20Is as New Zealand beat Sri Lanka by 7 wickets.
Sri Lanka: 127-7 (20 overs)
New Zealand: 131-3 (17.4 overs)
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New Zealand skipper Sophie Devine continued her run of scoring fifties with a sixth consecutive score of fifty or more as New Zealand beat Sri Lanka in the opening game for both the teams in the Women's T20 World Cup.
Earlier, Sri Lanka were put in to bat by the White Ferns and the openers gave them a good start. Both skipper Chamari Athapaththu and Hasini Perera took to the New Zealand bowlers and tried to take advantage of the field restrictions. The duo added 60 runs for the first wicket and gave Sri Lanka a solid platform to build on. But the wicket of the skipper changed things dramatically as Sri Lanka began to lose wickets on regular intervals. Harshitha Madavi kept the scoreboard ticking from one end but was running out of balls and partners. Sri Lanka in the end managed to scored just 127-7 in their 20 overs. Hayley Jensen was the pick of the New Zealand bowlers with figures of 3/16.
Also see – Women’s T20 World cup points table
New Zealand needed just 128 runs to win but got off to a very slow start as they lost wicketkeeper and opener Rachel Priest early. But skipper Devine did not let the pressure get to her and built important partnerships with the experienced Suzie Bates and Maddy Green and helped New Zealand chase down the target easily with seven wickets in hand and more than two overs to spare.
Athapaththu, Perera give Sri Lanka a flying start
Sri Lanka needed a good start from their openers in order to put a competitive total on the board and that is exactly what they provided. Perera began to take on the bowling and while Athapaththu was slow in getting off the blocks, she too later joined the party. The duo added 60 runs off 46 balls for the first wicket out of which Perera scored 20 with 2 boundaries. Athapaththu did not let the momentum slip away from Sri Lanka after the wicket of Perera and scored 41 off 30 balls which included 5 fours and 2 sixes.
Jensen, bowlers help New Zealand restrict Sri Lanka
Athapaththu was going strong from one end and her partnership with Anushka Sanjeewani looked threatening. But after the skipper was caught and bowled off the bowling of Leah Tahuhu, New Zealand began to claw their way back into the game. Sri Lanka was not able to get any momentum in their innings whatsoever as the White Ferns bowled tight line and length and put pressure on the batters to induce a false shot. Hayley Jensen picked up the wickets of Shashikala Siriwardene, Anushka Sanjeewani and Kavisha Dilhari and ended up with figures of 3/13 becoming the pick of the bowlers and helping New Zealand restrick the Lankans to just 127-7.
Sophie Devine's 75* helped New Zealand coast home
Having set a modest target of 128, New Zealand got off to a relatively slow start and lost opener Rachel Priest early. However, Sophie Devine led from the front with the bat and scored an unbeaten 75 off 55 balls including 6 fours and 2 sixes. This knock helped New Zealand comfortably reach the target in the 18th over with seven wickets in hand.
Hayley Jensen's figures of 3/16 were instrumental in New Zealand being able to restrict Sri Lanka to a total of 127 and thus she was adjudged the player of the match. Here were her thoughts after the game -
I was a bit nervy at the start, good to get the first win. Really good performance from the girls. It (pitch) was nice, makes me feel like a faster bowler. We knew that it was a good wicket and they would come hard early. We got a couple of wickets and the pressure was back on them. We just had to stay calm and stick to our plans.