|New Zealand 162-3 (20 overs): A Kerr 66 (48) Bates 56 (49), Bezuidenhout 32 (29)|
|Sri Lanka 60 (15.5 overs): Athapaththu 19 (21); Kerr 2-7, Tahuhu 2-12|
|New Zealand won by 102 runs|
New Zealand kept its hopes alive of reaching the semi-finals of the Women’s T20 World Championship with a dominant 102-round win over Sri Lanka.
Amelia Kerr hit 66 from 48 balls and Suzie Bates added 56 from 49 as New Zealand went 162-3 in Paarl.
Sri Lanka collapsed to 60 in response to ending its own last four hopes.
The win puts New Zealand second in Group 1 but South Africa will replace them and secure a place in the semi-finals if they beat Bangladesh on Tuesday.
Those who finish second in Group 1 are likely to meet England, who have already secured a place in the semi-finals and will progress as Group 2 winners if they are undefeated in their last game against Pakistan on Tuesday.
New Zealand started aggressively as they knew they needed a big win. Bernadine Bezuidenhout, the opening player, hit 32 balls from just 20 to help the White Ferns go 47-1 off the power play – their best tournament yet.
Bezuidenhout’s sending off brought Kerr to Bates and they put up 110 for the second wicket, perfectly timing their acceleration to average nearly 10 an over in the last five overs of the inning and lead New Zealand to an impressive result.
Sri Lanka also had to start aggressively to try to keep up with run-rate, but this expansive approach led to risky stroke play and a barrage of early wickets from which they failed to recover.
Opener Chamari Athapaththu appeared to be the only player able to produce a match-winning inning, but when she departed for 19 balls from 21, Sri Lanka lashed out 33-4.
Achini Kulasuriya was unable to bat after injuring his shoulder while bowling, leaving New Zealand to take just nine wickets, with Kerr capping a fine all-around performance, bowling Malsha Shehani for 10 to seal the win and with numbers from 2-7 to end.
“I love bowling more than ever” – reaction
New Zealand’s Player of the Match Amelia Kerr: “I think it was nice to put in a performance and get a big win for the team there. It was nice to hit with Suzie (Bates) who is a class.
“Craig Howard, our bowling coach, has worked with us a lot. I love bowling more than ever and that’s because of him.”
New Zealand’s captain Sophie Devine: “I wish this was our first game of the tournament but it’s not meant to be and I stand here today extremely proud.
“In order for the team to recover the way we did, we gave ourselves a chance.”
Sri Lanka skipper Chamari Athapaththu: “It’s been a tough day at the center. I think as a bowling unit we needed wickets early. 140 would have been a good result to pursue. 160 wasn’t easy. We had to stick to our plans and play our shots.
“Overall I don’t think the game plan worked out. Some players felt the pressure but they are young. They need a bit more experience. We have few older players.
“A lot of the girls are not experienced enough for this kind of game. If we put too much pressure, that’s how the game develops.”