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Devine helps New Zealand down Pakistan in 1st ODI

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A century by Player of the Match Sophie Devine helped set up the White Ferns opening ODI victory over Pakistan, but all the drama was reserved for the final ten overs of a thrilling run-chase in Sharjah.

Asked to open the batting, 28-year-old Devine produced a patient hundred which was the backbone of the visitor’s 240-9 from their 50 overs. 

Pakistan’s reply was always on track and they entered the final ten overs of the chase requiring 56 runs to win with six wickets still in hand.

However, the hosts appeared to get the speed wobbles, as the White Ferns held their nerve to claim the final five wickets for just 15 runs and snuff out the run-chase with nine balls to go and nine runs still needed for victory.

The hectic finish featured two late run-outs and saw Amelia Kerr (2-36) bowling the crucial final overs, along with Holly Huddleston (2-32) and off-spinner Leigh Kasperek (2-35).

Earlier, on another hot day in the UAE, the WHITE FERNS captain Suzie Bates won the toss and elected to bat first.

The new opening pairing of Bates and Devine posted a polished 50-run stand inside the opening ten overs, with Bates the chief aggressor.

When the captain departed for a fluent 36 off 39 balls, Devine took up the attack, posting a 60-ball half-century, while receiving valuable support from vice-captain Amy Satterthwaite (20).

The pair took the score through to 121-1 as they neared the halfway point in the innings, but a double breakthrough gave the hosts some encouragement.

However, the problem for Pakistan was at the other end, as Devine continued to patiently build her innings and found another ally at the crease in the form of young Auckland right-hander Maddy Green (22).

Another two quick wickets would bring Amelia Kerr to the middle and the Tawa College teenager proved the perfect foil for Devine.

The Wellington pair put on 34 runs in short time as Devine pushed on to post her second ODI century in 114 balls, although she would perish soon after - leaving Kerr to take over.

Making the most of her slight elevation up the batting order, the 17-year-old right-hander compiled a busy run-a-ball 30 to help the WHITE FERNS through to 240-9.

Auckland pace bowler Holly Huddleston got the visitors off to the perfect start with the ball when she had Ayesha Zafar bowled for a duck.

Nahida and Javeria Khan showed superb skill in the conditions and their 77 run stand had Suzie Bates’ team under pressure.

Pakistan captain Bismah Maroof looked to be leading her side to an historic victory with 15 overs to go, but she was dismissed by Kerr for 41 and all of a sudden the host’s innings began to teeter.

The WHITE FERNS continued to chip out wickets and once the last of the recognised batswomen were out, the tail collapsed with the 241 run target in sight.

Kerr and Kasperek were lauded for holding their nerve in the final overs, while Otago wicket-keeper Katey Martin impressed behind the stumps and affected the crucial run-out of Sana Mir, which was a turning point in the match.

The second ODI in the three game ICC Women’s Championship series is at the same ground on Thursday.