Amelia Kerr and Sophie Devine joined forces for a match-winning, 135-run partnership to lead New Zealand to an eight-wicket victory over the Proteas Women in Benoni on Saturday.
Player of the Match A. Kerr recorded a top score of 71* off 46 balls (9 fours) with the support of captain Devine, who dispatched five fours and three sixes on her way to a 37-ball 61* as the visitors chased down South Africa’s effort of 172/4.
After losing out on the toss and being asked to bat first in the sweltering heat at Willowmoore Park, South Africa made a steady start at the crease through Tazmin Brits (11) and Wolvaardt to reach the fourth over on 24/0 before Brits fell to a Jess Kerr delivery.
Despite the early wicket, Wolvaardt kept the pressure on the bowlers with aggressive strokeplay to see the home side to 43/1 at the end of the powerplay.
With Wolvaardt joined by Anneke Bosch in the middle, the pair quickly settled at the crease to put on a 59-run stand for the second wicket before the partnership was eventually broken by Molly Penfold (1/15) who bowled Bosch for a well-played 32 off 24 deliveries.
At the other end, Wolvaardt raised her bat for her ninth T20I half-century prior to being caught in the deep off the bowling of Hannah Rowe (1/21) for a 44-ball 53, which included eight fours.
The loss of the South African skipper did little to slow down the batting side as Suné Luus added 45 runs off 30 deliveries, including seven boundaries, alongside Chloé Tryon (22*) for a 52-run partnership to help the home side post 172/4 in their 20 overs.
J. Kerr finished with figures of 2/41 as the White Ferns’ leading wicket-taker.
In response, New Zealand were made to assume a measured approach with the bat following disciplined bowling from South Africa before the initial breakthrough came off the bowling of hometown star, Tumi Sekhukhune (1/46), to see the back of Suzie Bates for nine.
With the away side nearing the end of the powerplay, Masabata Klaas (1/29) struck a crucial blow to the New Zealand batting effort as she picked up the scalp of Kate Anderson (25) to leave the Aotearoa outfit 40/2 after six overs.
At the halfway mark of their innings, New Zealand were 68/2, still needing 105 runs off 60 balls to win with Devine and A. Kerr at the crease.
The duo then combined to great effect for the third wicket, putting on an initial fifty-run stand to take the game to South Africa and help the tourists to 123/2 after 15 overs as A. Kerr brought up her half-century.
It didn’t take Devine long to join her partner in celebration with her own 18th career fifty, as the pair reached three figures together at the crease.
With the game’s momentum in the balance, Kerr and Devine began to express themselves freely in front of the Benoni crowd before the experienced duo completed the emphatic chase with seven deliveries remaining.
Thanks to today’s triumph, New Zealand took a 1-0 series lead with one encounter left to play, which takes place at the same stadium on Sunday, 15 October from 14h00.