New Zealand women close in on T20I series win

Sophie Devine and Suzie Bates batted Pakistan women out of the game as New Zealand took an unassailable 2-0 lead in their four-match T20I series at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Thursday.

Devine and Bates kept pace with each other as they both brought up brisk half-centuries in a first-wicket stand of 116 in 13.4 overs.

Pakistan pulled things back with sharp fielding to restrict New Zealand to 150 for 8. But a failure to build partnerships and keep the asking rate in check meant it couldn’t go beyond 111 for 7, slipping to a 39-run loss.

Devine, who smashed her first six in the second over, had four more big hits against her name to go with four fours.

She really took off after her 39-ball half-century, and had made 70 in 44 deliveries when she was caught at the ropes by Aimen Anwer off Sadia Yousuf, the left-arm spinner.

Bates followed her back to the pavilion in the next over, caught and bowled by Javeria Khan, for a 43-ball 52.

Quick thinking from Pakistan engineered a late collapse and robbed the New Zealand innings of momentum. Four wickets in the 18th over, three of them run-outs, had the visiting side slip from 138 for 3 to 139 for 7.

But Pakistan, which posted its highest T20I total against New Zealand – 132 for 7 – on Wednesday, couldn’t repeat that effort in the chase.

Bates broke a promising opening stand of 29 when she sent back Sidra Ameen. Bismah Maroof, the captain, and Javeria fell in consecutive overs just when they seemed to be settling in.

Aliya Riaz, batting at number five, top-scored with a 22-ball 23, which included one six, but it was never enough.

Amy Satterthwaite picked up two wickets in the penultimate over to cap off a clinical bowling and fielding performance from the side.

The teams meet again on Sunday at the same venue for the third T20I.