The biggies – unarguably comprising of the great Suzie Bates and Sophie Devine- were ‘at it’- as the White Ferns’s legendary duo took the side home to register a 9-wicket victory.
But what were the key moments from the Proteas Women vs White Ferns 1st T20, 2020?
Kasperek’s impressive spell
In all, the bespectacled right arm off-spinner took 2 wickets. But that she conceded just 17 from her spell of 4 pages early way for the White Ferns to keep the Protea scoring in check.
First up, she’d remove the dangerous Lizelle Lee for only 17. Later, she’d get Ismail.
During the top order and lower order scalps, she’d join hands with the young and upcoming Amelia Kerr- one of the finest spinners in the White Ferns stable- to dry up the runs.
Wolvaardt soldiers on in lone vigil
35 off the 120 stipulated deliveries bowled to the Proteas women were played by Laura Wolvaardt alone. On a day where the runs didn’t come that easy, the young but potent opening batswoman accumulated some hardly-grafted runs, never quite getting the support from her usually a big-scoring partner at the top order.
But this didn’t mean that Wolvaardt- who came in at the back of a special unbeaten 91 in the first ODI that resulted in a 163-run stand- was going it give up.
In first reviving the slow Protean scoring somewhat along with Nadine de Klerk batting as deep as into the 15th over, it wasn’t the most fruitful outcome for the usually exuberant right-hander. But where would the South Africans be had 35 useful runs didn’t come from Wolvaardt’s lone vigil?
Sophie finally shows ‘Devine’ touch
The captain, with scores of 27, 9, and 24 from the three ODIs respectively, was always due for a big score.
Throughout the ODI leg of the White Ferns’ unimpressive showing, Devine had been getting the starts if not the big knock that would’ve lifted her side desperately looking to avoid the troubles.
And so it came; as the newly-appointed limited-overs skipper showed her might in the very format where she enjoyed undoubtedly the year of her life thanks to the WBBL 2019 exploits.
As the experienced Bates struck 54 aggressively-collected runs, all she took were 32 balls in making most of a South African attack that just didn’t seem going at the back of a low team score.
Implicit in her knock were powerful strikes, resulting in 4 huge sixes and 3 strikingly good looking boundaries as she helped herself to yet another fifty, the eleventh of her T20 career.
But none of what the White Ferns batting accomplished seemed possible had it not been for the returning Rachel Priest’s quickfire 37, that got off the hosts finely.
An off-day for the Protea pacers
It wasn’t perhaps the day for the medium pacers, who, just a few days ago, had put so successfully the brakes on the White Ferns scoring.
In their defense of a modest 116- a below-par score in any T20 outing anywhere you’d reckon – things didn’t go according to South Africa’s plans as none including Ismail, Klass or Khaka- were able to contain the free-scoring ways of the chasers.
Ismail’s spell- none for 19 off just 2 – indicated that the White Ferns, led brilliantly by the experienced duo of Devine and Priest weren’t going to be contained even by Proteas launching their express speedster.
Khaka and Klass, despite lots of T20 experience, couldn’t quite succeed at restricting the White Ferns, proving a bit too costly in the end for their team’s sake. Wicketless returns at the back of 8, and 9 an over for Khaka and Klass- a clincher of a hat trick for the team in the past- amplified the struggles of the bowlers.
If not, then it could hand the momentum the White Ferns’ way, just as how their back-to-back defeats to South Africa turned the series in the visitors’ favor.
For now, all eyes set for the next contest; let’s see what February 6 brings?
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