Johannesburg - Another disjointed performance, led to another defeat - the seventh in a row for the Proteas in what has become a nightmare tour to England.
Playing their first match of the Commonwealth Games at Edgbaston, the Proteas were shambolic in the field, inconsistent with the ball and then fidgety with the bat, putting their chances of qualifying for the final four in serious jeopardy.
The change of kit and competition did the South Africans no good as New Zealand’s most experienced players, Suzie Bates and Sophie Devine built a solid base with the bat and then Bates blasted some horrible death bowling to get her side to a total that was about 20 runs above par.
As has been the case for most of their tour of England, the Proteas’ fielding was again awful. The boundary fielders were tentative in chasing after balls, while both Devine and Bates were given opportunities. Devine survived a very difficult chance given to wicket keeper Sinalo Jaftha when she bottom edged a delivery from Nonkululeko Mlaba, but the chance missed by Ayabonga Khaka to end Bates’ innings on 26, was much easier.
The New Zealand opener hit a Delmi Tucker delivery straight to Khaka at midwicket, but she dropped the ball that wasn’t travelling particularly quickly towards her and came at head height.
Devine and Bates added 99 for the first wicket, before South Africa eventually took a catch - a good one actually in which Chloe Tryon had to dive forward after she’d run in from the long-off boundary, to dismiss Devine for 48.
🚨 RESULT | NEW ZEALAND WIN BY 13 RUNS— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) July 30, 2022
Contributions from the middle order wasn't enough to chase the 168-run target set by New Zealand in the opening game of the Commonwealth Games#NZvSA #B2022 pic.twitter.com/UqTTflL3uO
Bates then found her groove, scoring the majority of her runs on the leg side with sweeps and scoops. She took advantage of another opportunity when Mignon du Preez inexplicably chose not to throw the ball at the stumps, after a mix up between Bates and Amelia Kerr, left the former stranded metres out of her crease.
Bates on 54 at the time, made South Africa pay, scoring 27 runs off the next 14 balls she faced 16 of which came in a dreadful final over bowled by Khaka. Bates finished on 91 not out, which came off 64 balls, and included eight fours and three sixes
South Africa’s reply started sluggishly with openers Anneke Bosch and Tazmin Brits being dismissed inside four overs. The Proteas played out 26 dot balls in the power play and while New Zealand’s bowling was good, that figure is far too much with fielding restrictions in place.
Du Preez (26) and Laura Wolvaardt (28) added 46 runs for the third wicket, but the required rate was sky-rocketing by the time they were dismissed.
Tryon offered hope for the Proteas with some belligerent hitting - that included three sixes, two of which went into the stands - that briefly had the New Zealanders panicking. But then in another illustration of the disjointedness, she was run out, after being sent back by Sune’ Luus. It was a risky single, but given the way Tryon was batting at the time, a risk worth taking and Luus, should possibly have thought to sacrifice her wicket. A disgruntled Tryon was seen moments later in the dugout, after she’d scored 39 off just 17 balls.
Luus to her credit got a couple of boundaries away making 32 off 18 balls, but it only made everyone wonder what could have been had she and Tryon been able to have a bigger partnership.