February 10, 2020 / 6:59 AM / 9 days ago

Cricket: NZ's Devine first to hit 50 in five straight T20s

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - New Zealand women’s cricket captain Sophie Devine became the first player to pass 50 in five successive Twenty20 internationals on Monday when she scored 105 in her side’s 69-run win over South Africa in Wellington.

FILE PHOTO: Cricket - Women's Third One Day International - England v New Zealand, The Fischer County Ground, Leicester, Britain - July 13, 2018 New Zeland's Sophie Devine celebrates scoring the winning runs Action Images/Jason Cairnduff

The 30-year-old scored 72 against India last February and had innings of 54 not out, 61 and 77 earlier in the series against South Africa.

India batswoman Mithali Raj, former New Zealand men’s captain Brendon McCullum and West Indies opener Chris Gayle are the only players to have passed 50 in four successive Twenty20 internationals.

“The last 12 months I have really challenged myself to be consistent with my performances,” Devine said after the match on her home ground at the Basin Reserve.

“If I looked at my batting a couple of years ago I could have a match-winning contribution but it wasn’t as regular or often as I would have liked.”

It was also just the second Twenty20 international century by a New Zealand woman. Suzie Bates, who was batting with Devine, is the other.

“To bring up a T20 hundred is a pretty special occasion but to have Suzie Bates out there, I remember being there for hers,” Devine said. “To bring it up at the Basin Reserve ... is a moment I won’t forget.”

The victory clinched the five-match series 3-1 for the ‘White Ferns’ with the final game in Dunedin on Thursday.

“It was really nice to put on a really clinical performance with bat and ball,” Devine added, with the side looking strong heading into the Twenty20 World Cup later this month.

“It could have been easy to cruise a little bit but we really wanted to make sure that we put our foot on their throat and not let up and to do that in pretty comprehensive style is pleasing.”

Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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