There are talented batters in the game. There are dangerous batters in the game too. Then there are batters who are consistently dangerous; like freak forces of nature or like a comet of endless energy. By now, you know where to place Sophie Devine.
Perhaps it was the best thing New Zealand would have done to have made her the captain of the T20 and ODI side. Perhaps the best thing Sophie Devine could have done to herself was to have opened the innings for the White Ferns.
Given the way it has planned out, it wasn’t such a bright thing for South Africa Women to have travelled to Sophie Devine-land to face this ball-blaster given the kind of form she has been in.
How interesting it is to note that one key batter’s form is pure gold for a side but at the same time a major predicament for others facing her?
Her current form raises an alarm, a sort of red herring for the finest exponents of medium pace and spin bowling and not just in the Proteas squad but around the world. Perhaps we should have guessed it well when Devine went on to score tons and tons of runs in 2019 WBBL.
Before the series against South Africa, Devine was handed over a new role – captaincy in the absence of Amy Satterthwaite. Although the beginning of her new role started with a rather forgettable tour, she didn’t let her fans down in the T20 format.
In the three-match ODI series, she scored 27, 9 and 24 respectively before reminding the world her ability once again with the stunning performances in the T20I series against the same opponents.
She scored an unbeaten 54 in the first game which came off 32 balls with 3 fours and 4 sixes. The next game witnessed another blitzy show of her. A 43-ball 61 came with the help of 3 fours and 5 towering sixes. Even she amassed a 57-ball 77 in the very next game which included 7 fours and 4 sixes.
With every passing game, Devine’s touch against the Proteas Women has only gone one to become divine.
If you think she showed some mercy to the opponents, then you are guessing wrong.
She didn’t stop there as she registered her maiden T20I century in the fourth game on Monday. She hit Sune Luus for two fours and two sixes in an over that earned 23 runs. However, with this, she made a few records as well.
With her consecutive fifties in the series – 54*, 61, 77 and 105 and 72 in her last T20I against India in 2019, Sophie Devine surpassed India’s Mithali Raj who earlier had the record of scoring four half-centuries on a trot.
Along with this, her partnership with Suzie Bates was also the highest second-wicket partnership for New Zealand and she also became the only second White Ferns batter to score a hundred in a T20I after Bates.
Given this dangerous touch, it appears that soon, in a matter of days, in the World T20, 2020, the contest might become one featuring some of the world’s best bowlers against the bludgeoning bat of Sophie Devine.