Poor start for SA women
Sophie Devine scored 145 runs to help New Zealand to a 151-run victory over the Proteas in their opening match of the ICC Women's World Cup in Cuttack on Friday.
After being put into bat by Mignon du Preez, the White Ferns compiled an impressive 321 runs, that was always going to be a tough ask.
The day started off well for South Africa, as Lucy Doolan was clean bowled by Marizanne Kapp for two.
She was soon followed by Amy Satterthwaite, who was run out by the incredibly fast hands of Du Preez in the eighth over.
The White Ferns were 27/2 when their captain Suzie Bates and Sophie Devine came together at the crease and proceeded to score runs at a meaningful pace after the latter was dropped on 11.
They shared a 128-run stand before Bates was caught behind off the bowling of Yolandi Potgieter for 73.
Devine moved along, playing the anchor role in her 64-run partnership with Sara McGlashan (32), before she was bowled by Chloe Tryon.
It remained business as usual when Nicola Brown came to the crease. She and Devine ploughed through the bowling attack and took advantage of some poor fielding.
They ended their innings with a 102-run partnership for the fifth wicket, with Devine losing her wicket off Shabnim Ismail's final ball.
Bates was especially delighted by the manner in which her batters handled themselves in tight situations. "It was pretty tough at first this morning and to get the game away from them like we did was really satisfying," she said.
"Sophie was absolutely phenomenal. She got us to a score that we never expected to get to after the way we started. The bowling was made much easier just because we had so many runs on the board."
South Africa's reply started off badly, and they found themselves 74/5 in the 19th over, after losing Savanna Cordes (0) off the third ball of their innings, followed by Potgieter (8) in the sixth over and Marizanne Kapp (10). Du Preez and Cri-Zelda Brits (23) shared a 24-run partnership before the skipper was trapped lbw for 29.
The wickets of Brits, Dané van Niekerk (1) and Tryon (4) fell in 12 balls to leave the Proteas wilting on 82/7 in the 21st over.
Shabnim Ismail (31) shared a 71-run eighth-wicket partnership with Susan Benade (37) to pick up the innings and steer it towards a respectable ending.
Du Preez was disappointed by her side's performance but is still optimistic about their chances in the competition.
"We had chances here and there to take wickets but we did not take them. Our fielding was not up to scratch and neither was our batting but I still believe that we can put this match behind us and forge ahead to the next game.
"We said we would take this tournament game by game and we will continue to do just that," she commented.
On Sunday South Africa face a formidable Australian side, who beat Pakistan by 91 runs today, but Du Preez remains positive.
"It's not about who we play," she said. "We're just going to go out there and play cricket, stick to the basics and focus on ourselves, rather than who we are about to face."