Sophie Devine’s sixth consecutive goal over 50 led New Zealand to victory at the start of the 2020 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup against Sri Lanka.
Chamari Atapattu (41) and Hasini Perera’s 60-time first wicket stand – Sri Lanka’s best opening partnership at T20Is – got them off to a good start, but Hayley Jensen’s best bowling dropped middle-order wickets at WACA.
New Zealand needed time to get the 128-run chase underway, but Captain Devine set a good example and was the only male or female player on the way to the seven more than six consecutive over 50 points in the format recorded -wicket victory.
"I hope someone else can beat that record. That's the great thing about the women's game at the moment, records seem to be broken left, right, and centre."— T20 World Cup (@T20WorldCup) February 22, 2020
Sophie Devine speaks after extending her world record streak to six consecutive T20I fifties.#NZvSL | #T20WorldCup pic.twitter.com/TnBxCjOz0T
The openings in Sri Lanka were impressive. Devine, Leigh Kasperek, and Lea Tahuhu failed to achieve a power-play breakthrough. 19-year-old Amelia Kerr, who had problems in the fast lane, got the first wicket of the evening when she played Perera in the eighth game for 20 bowling.
However, Perera did not miss out on her wonderful moments. Her shovel over wicketkeeper Rachel Priest gave the Sri Lankan contingent at WACA enough reason to celebrate.
Atapattu’s 41, which included five fours and two sixes, formed a solid base, but the captain of Sri Lanka was caught and bowled by the fast-paced Tahuhu.
The White Ferns were able to apply the brakes afterward, Jensen claimed two gates in one over when Anushka Sanjeewani’s exaggerated attempt was caught by Bates, who ran back and caught Devine Shashikala Siriwardena just before the wicket.
Nilakshi de Silva was the next to fall when the middle order collapsed and Kerr took the catch for Devine’s first wicket backward before the spinner made her own second breakthrough.
Harshitha Madavi continued to fight unbeaten 27 of 26 balls, but Sri Lanka ended 127/7 when Jensen took third place.
The White Fern chase started slowly, and openers Devine and Priest didn’t use the power play until Madavi released it for 6 minutes.
New Zealand, which was held 25/1 after six overs, lagged far behind Sri Lanka, which was 51 years old at the same stage with no loss, with Devine not at its best. But the skipper did it in Perth and teamed up with Bates to make a 40-run stand on the second wicket to stabilize the ship.
Bates was killed by Kavisha Dilhari, but Maddy Green came at four and hunted superbly to relieve her skipper with a best of 29 out of 20.
Devine finally released her arms with less than one run a ball needed – two sixes ended the chase with two overs when the White Ferns in Group A hit early on.