New Zealand women amassed 490 for 4 – the highest total in all ODI cricket – to smash records and Ireland women at the YMCA Cricket Club in Dublin. They threatened to break the 500-run barrier when they were 471 for 4 in 49 overs. Seventeen-year-old Amelia Kerr – the fourth New Zealand batsman to cross 50 – drove the first two balls of the last over through extra cover for fours. She followed it with another four to the long-on boundary, but could manage only seven off the last three balls.
In response, Ireland folded for 144 in 35.3 overs as New Zealand secured the fourth-biggest win in women’s ODIs – by 346 runs. They achieved the biggest win – by 408 runs – when they ran up 455 for 5, the previous highest total in ODIs, in Christchurch in 1997.
Ireland will also be concerned about Isobel Joyce, who did not bat in the chase after bumping her head on the ground while fielding. She had bowled just one over in the first innings.
It was captain Suzie Bates and No. 3 Maddy Green who set the tone for New Zealand’s mammoth score with quickfire centuries – 151 off 94 balls and 121 off 77 balls respectively. Bates and debutant Jess Watkin started with a blistering 172-run opening partnership off 18.5 overs at a run rate of 9.13. The stand ended when Rachel Delaney, a substitute fielder, pulled off a stunning one-handed catch at deep square leg to dismiss Watkin for 62 off 59 balls.
Bates, who was on 89 off 59 balls then, went on to score her 10th ODI hundred, off only 71 balls. Only Australia captain Meg Lanning (11) has more ODI centuries than Bates. She reached the landmark when she tucked legspinner Gaby Lewis to the leg side for a single and got a hug from team-mate Green in the middle.
In the next over, Bates was reprieved on 113 when Louise Little dropped a return catch that went high. Bates further added 38 to her tally before 17-year-old legspinner Cara Murray, also making her ODI debut, drew Bates out of her crease and had her stumped in the 30th over, and New Zealand were 288 for 2. Murray also dismissed Amy Satterthwaite, but ended up conceding 119 runs – the worst figures in all ODIs.
Three other bowlers – Lewis, Little, and Lara Maritz – gave away 92 runs each while new-ball bowler Amy Kenealy went for 81 in nine overs.
The loss of Bates did not slow down New Zealand. Green, whose previous best ODI score was 46, smoked her maiden international century off 62 balls, while Kerr scored an unbeaten 81 off 45 balls, including nine fours and three sixes. Kerr added 76 for the fifth wicket in 38 balls to bring her side to within 10 runs of 500.
Notably, this match was played on the same pitch where New Zealand had chased down 137 in 11 overs without losing a wicket on Wednesday.
Seamer Hannah Rowe made light work of Ireland’s openers before offspinner Leigh Kasperek ran through the middle and lower order with career-best figures of 4 for 17. She had dismissed captain Laura Delany (37) and Jennifer Gray (35) – the only two Ireland batsmen to pass 20. The entire Ireland side managed only 18 boundaries while Bates alone hit 26.
2015 Kashmir Despatch