South Africa women beat New Zealand by two wickets in an instant classic in the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022.
Cruising to the 229 runs target at one point, they had to overcome a collapse initiated by Amelia Kerr in the middle overs to take down the hosts for their fourth win of the tournament and draw level with Australia on points.
New Zealand failed to put a decent score on the board after choosing to bat on a good-looking Seddon Park wicket despite Sophie Devine and Amelia Kerr’s 81 runs second wicket partnership.
Devine was unflappable even after Kerr fell to Sune Luus, adding another 80 runs with Maddy Green. Her dismissal seven runs short of a second century at this World Cup did not allow New Zealand to go into a higher gear.
South Africa women took the pace off the ball to prompt a lower-order collapse that resulted in New Zealand losing six wickets for 30 runs in 46 balls, and failing to bat out their 50 overs.
South Africa were nailing their chase and at 161 for 2 in the 36th over, saw no reasons to worry. Laura Wolvaardt had racked up her third successive half-century at that point and her partner Sune Luus was on her way to her second fifty.
Amelia Kerr trapped Wolvaardt LBW and then South Africa lost three wickets for nine runs in 27 balls, including the set Luus.
With South Africa needing 59 runs off 59 balls Marizanne Kapp and Chloe Tryon scored 28 runs off 30 balls to provide some respite to their team. Tryon left Kapp to see things through after lobbing a catch to Kerr off Frances Mackay.
Trisha Chetty, Shabnim Ismail then came and went with South Africa still needing 12 off 10 balls. Ayabonga Khaka to get the strike back to Marizanne Kapp who struck Devine for a boundary before retaining strike for the last over.
A four off the first ball sealed New Zealand’s fate before two singles officially brought curtains on the contest.
South Africa now needs a solitary win to guarantee a spot in the Semi-final. The hosts, however, find themselves in a precarious position. Their upcoming contest against the defending champions, England, seems to be a virtual knockout game for each side.