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Devine Fifty keeps New Zealand pursuit on track in CWC22 opener

Sophie Devine’s unbeaten half-century held New Zealand’s pursuit together in the opening match of the 2022 ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup against West Indies.

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Skipper Sophie Devine’s sensational fifty kept New Zealand’s pursuit on track. Halfway through the innings they were 115/2, still 146 points from victory.

Earlier today, Hayley Matthews was in exceptional contact, scoring a stunning 119 on just 128 balls at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui. His efforts helped West Indies post a competitive 259/9.

The West Indies opener hit 16 fours and a whopping six on her entertaining shot, and most New Zealand bowlers were on the receiving end of the onslaught.

Veteran seamstress Lea Tahuhu (3/57) was expensive in her nine overs, while Fran Jones (0/39 from six overs) also gave the batting team a better-than-run-a-ball score . The Kerr sisters Jess (2/43) and Amelia (1/33) were economical in comparison.

New Zealand on track in chase

The White Ferns were unlucky to lose a wicket early in their pursuit – Bates was exhausted at the non-striking end after an outstretched finger deflection from Chinelle Henry. Amelia Kerr and the skipper carried the team through to the end of Powerplay without further harm.

Sensational with the bat, Matthews was also effective with the ball, trapping in-form Amelia in front of the stumps just his second ball to break the 33-run stand.

Still 213 points from victory at that point, New Zealand had to take a cautious approach. With boundaries few and far between, Amy Satterthwaite and captain Devine kept the scoreboard going with good running between the wickets.

Devine quickly elevated his half-century, and halfway through, New Zealand was in a competitive position. West Indies, meanwhile, struggled with fitness, with Shamilia Connell having to leave the pitch after injuring her fingers on the pitch.

Matthews the Lone Warrior

New Zealand made early inroads after going at bat and got two wickets in the Powerplay. Deandra Dottin started the World Cup with fireworks, breaking three fours in the first round, but was back in the clubhouse for 12 after Tahuhu induced a leading edge.

Jess Kerr quickly got the wicket from Kycia Knight, who skimmed the ball into the midfielder’s hands. Despite falling wickets, West Indies finished the Powerplay in a strong position, with Hayley Matthews scoring 29 of the team’s 54.

Matthews quickly reached his fiftieth in the 18th and with Stafanie Taylor keeping him company, added 66 runs for the third wicket. The batters mixed caution and aggression and made sure the scoreboard kept rolling.

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Devine turned to Tahuhu again, with both hitters looking ready, and the move reaped immediate rewards. Trying to tickle the ball to the slender leg, Taylor delivered it into the safe hands of Katey Martin behind the stumps.

Matthews was once again involved in a strong partnership, this time with Shemaine Campbelle – the pair added 60 runs for the fourth wicket. The latter was lucky to survive after a hold was taken from her, but she ultimately fell into Amelia’s hands for 20 years.

Matthews eventually reached his century thereafter. It was her first appearance at the ICC Women’s World Cups, and she started afterwards.

Jess finally ended her innings as Matthews sank into the depths. The White Ferns took four wickets in the last four overs to hold West Indies at 259/9.