Johannesburg – South Africa were dealt a crushing blow in the start of their campaign in the Women's Cricket World Cup, going down in a 150-run defeat to New Zealand in Cuttack, India, on Friday.

New Zealand, who lost the toss and were sent in to bat, were anchored by a superb 145-run contribution from Sophie Devine, who guided her side to 320/5 in their 50 overs.

Seamer Yolandi Potgieter was the best of the SA bowlers, who struggled to get breakthroughs, with a return of 1/27 from her four overs.

In reply, the South Africans failed to build partnerships, with Susan Benade, who made 37, top-scoring as they were bowled out for 170 runs in the 41st over.

Left-arm pace bowler Sian Ruck took 4/31 to lead the New Zealand attack.

South Africa face Australia in their next Group B match on Sunday. – Sapa