Mohali: Skipper Suzie Bates led from the front with a quickfire half-century as New Zealand Women registered a comprehensive 93-run victory over Ireland Women in their World Twenty20 Group A clash here yesterday.
Suzie Bates. Pic/Atul Kamble
Fresh from comfortable win against Sri Lanka, New Zealand posted a competitive 177 for three after opting to bat and then restricted Ireland to 84 for five in their allotted 20 overs at the PCA stadium here.
Kiwi opener Bates scored 82 off just 60 deliveries that included seven hits to the fence and two sixes, while Sophie Devine also chipped in with a crucial 34-ball 47.
Bates and Devine put on an important 104-run stand together for the second wicket to put Kiwis on the course for setting their rivals a competitive target.
After Devine's dismissal, captain Bates continued in the able company of Sara McGlashan (14 not out). The two added 44 runs for third wicket to steer the team past 150-run mark. Chasing 178 for victory, Ireland were never in the fray as they kept on losing wickets at regular interval and failed to reach even the three-figure mark.
Captain Isobel Joyce fought a lone battle for Ireland, scoring 33-ball 28. But all others came a cropper against the Kiwi bowlers. 14-year-old Gaby Lewis (16 not out) remained unbeaten, even as Ireland started their World Twenty20 campaign on a losing note.
Spinner Erin Bermingham was the pick of the New Zealand bowlers with figures of two for 17, while Morna Nielsen, Leigh Kasperek and Devine took wicket apiece.
Meanwhile, the match was virtually played before empty stands with crowds giving the event a miss.
While speaking to reporters after the match, Sophie Devine looked happy with her team's performance. "It was very pleasing, its' been nice today to put up a
complete performance, both with bat and ball," she said.
On Suzie Bates reaching the milestone of 2000 plus runs, Devine said "it's a fantastic achievement".
"She is the first New Zealander to achieve this. She leads from the front and is a real inspiration for all of us."
Asked if the team thinks there are still some areas that need improvement, she said, "There are still going to be little things we need to focus on. We know Aussies are going to be a tough challenge."
Ireland's skipper Isobel Joyce admitted that her team failed to perform up to the mark.
She also admitted that chasing 170 plus "wasn't probably too comfortable".
New Zealand Women: 177 for three in 20 overs (Suzie Bates 82, Sophie Devine 47). Ireland Women: 84 for five in 20 overs (Isobel Joyce 28; Erin Bermingham 2/17, Morna Nielsen 1/13).