Laura Wolvaardt, Lizelle Lee give South Africa women 1-0 lead

New Zealand
Lizelle Lee launches the ball over cover © ICC

South Africa women 260 for 3 (Lee 99, Wolvaardt 91, Jensen 1-36) beat New Zealand women 259 for 9 (Perkins 78, Bates 53, Klaas 3-37, Khaka 3-43) by seven wickets

Openers Lizelle Lee (99) and Laura Wolvaardt (91*) helped South Africa women pull off a chase of 260 – their second highest in ODI cricket – in the series opener against New Zealand women in Auckland. While Lee was dismissed for a run-a-ball 99, Wolvaardt made a more sedate 91 not out off 124 balls and sealed victory along with Mignon du Preez.

It was Lee who made the early running in the chase, and she brought up her half-century off 51 balls in the 16th over. By then, South Africa were 83 for 0. Lee and Wolvaardt stretched their opening stand to 163 before Lee fell to medium-pacer Hayley Jensen in the 32nd over. Three overs later, Suzie Bates had Luus caught behind for 15 and when Dane van Niekerk departed for 37 in the 47th over, South Africa were all but home. Wolvaardt and du Preez completed the formalities with seven wickets and nine balls to spare.

Lee had struck 13 fours while Wolvaardt hit nine. In all, the entire New Zealand side managed only 20 fours and a six. Fresh off winning the Super Smash title with Wellington Blaze, Sophie Devine had a good start – hitting 27 off 31 balls – but couldn’t convert it into a substantial score. It was Katie Perkins who had top-scored for the hosts, with 78 off 83 balls, including six fours. No.3 Suzie Bates produced the next best score for New Zealand, making 53 off 75 balls.

At 146 for 3 in the 34th over, New Zealand seemed to have the upper hand, but Bates’ dismissal triggered a meltdown as they lost their last six wickets for 113 runs. After Masabata Klaas had taken down the first two wickets, Ayabonga Khaka picked up three wickets in the middle to peg New Zealand back.

Wicketkeeper Rachel Priest (21) and Jensen (20) made late cameos to help push the total beyond 250, but it was not enough on the day for New Zealand.

©
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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