RECORD-BREAKING DEVINE HELPS NEW ZEALAND TO EASY WIN OVER PAKISTAN

Sophie Devine smashed the most sixes in an ODI as New Zealand took another step towards the ICC Women’s World Cup semi-finals with a commanding eight-wicket win over Pakistan at Taunton.

The number-three batter delivered an exemplary array of hitting, scoring 93 from just 41 balls – an effort bestowed by seven fours and nine sixes as New Zealand reached seven points from five outings while Pakistan became the first side to go out of reckoning for the knockouts with a fifth straight loss.

Earlier, Hannah Rowe produced a superb ICC WWC debut to help bowl Pakistan out for 144, showing no nerves in a career-best figures of three for 22.

Sana Mir responded with 50 on her 100th ODI appearance for Pakistan, but five White Ferns bowlers were in the wickets in an almost-perfect team display.

“We learnt from our last game, saw how Rachel Priest went about her innings so hit through the line of the ball and knew it would pay off,” Devine said after setting the record for most sixes by a woman batter in an ODI innings.

“The sixes record will be nice to look back on, but the most important thing was the win and the points – winning clinically was a bonus.

“We know how important run-rate is going to be in this tournament, it’s so tight in those top five or six teams.

“To bowl a side out on an absolute road is a huge effort, the bowlers deserve huge credit. They gave us a nice easy job knocking off the runs.”

Pakistan started solidly with 35 for no wicket, though off-spinner Leigh Kasperek broke through twice with the new ball.

From there, Rowe stole the show, becoming the third bowler in three New Zealand games to be on a hat-trick when dismissing Javeria Wadood and Marina Iqbal in successive balls, both lbw.

Sana’s half-century from 83 balls held together the innings, but wickets tumbled as Lea Tahuhu – playing her 50th ODI – picked up two, while teenage leg-spinner Amelia Kerr also collected a couple.

That left New Zealand chasing 145 with Devine hitting her straps soon after Priest’s dismissal, reaching 50 from 27 balls, the second-fastest of the ICC WWC so far.

She showed no signs of stopping, beating the previous six-hitting record of seven in one innings, but fell late on to Nashra Sundhu, though the White Ferns eased home with 35 overs remaining.

“We didn’t have a good performance in either department,” admitted Sana. “We’ve taken a lot of pressure, but we can come and bounce back in the next two matches.

“Sophie Devine was phenomenal, we have to give her the credit with the way she played, she really punished the good and bad balls and that’s not much you can do with that.

“This type of game doesn’t go well with milestones, but it’s been an honour serving Pakistan for the team and the country, it’s a great moment reaching 100 appearances and I’m very thankful.”

Scores in brief:

New Zealand beat Pakistan by eight wickets, at Taunton

Pakistan 144 in 46.5 overs (Sana Mir 50, Bibi Nahida 18, Ayesha Zafar 17, Iram Javed 14; Hannah Rowe 3-22, Amelia Kerr 2-27, Lea Tahuhu 2-35, Leigh Kasperek 2-35)

New Zealand 147-2 in 15 overs (Sophie Devine 93, Amy Satterthwaite 38no; Diana Baig 1-28, Nashra Sundhu 1-33)

Player of the match: Hannah Rowe (New Zealand)

Next matches: Pakistan v West Indies, Grace Road, Leicester, 11 July; England v New Zealand, The County Ground, Derby, 12 July