Bates and Watkin are unstoppable in an emphatic 10-wicket New Zealand victory.
Commanding half-centuries from the legendary Suzie Bates and her highly-rated 20-year-old opening partner Jess Watkin took New Zealand Women to an assured victory over their Irish counterparts in the one-off T20I at Dublin.
At the halfway stage Ireland Women would have felt quietly confident that their 136/8 would prove to be a tricky chase.
Gaby Lewis, aged just 17 but already a veteran of 25 international matches for Ireland, was the mainstay in the middle order, her 61 featuring 10 fours – four more than the rest of her team managed between them.
Lewis offered a lone hand, however, and with wickets falling regularly at the other end, the hosts, having win the toss and elected to bat first, were unable to capitalise on her maiden international fifty.
New Zealand's off-spinner Leigh Kasperek continued her superb form with the ball, nipping in with three wickets to further cement her position at No.2 in the MRF Tyres ICC Women's Player Rankings, while Lea Tahuhu claimed both openers, including the key wicket of Cecilia Joyce, sister of Ed, for a run-a-ball 30.
The other notable performer for the White Ferns was Northern Spirit wicket-keeper Bernadine Bezuidenhout, who claimed a women’s T20I record-equalling five dismissals.
Bates, who occupies second place in the rankings in both ODI and T20I formats, was characteristically dominant, cruising to an unbeaten 63 from just 29 deliveries.
But the big story for New Zealand Women as they gear up for the three-match ODI series is the emergence on debut of Jess Watkin as a thrusting strokemaker of enormous promise.
She struck three sixes and 11 fours in a breezy 38-ball stay, finishing up unbeaten on 77 as the tourists strolled to victory inside 11 overs. The partnership was the fifth highest in women's T20I history and the largest White Ferns stand ever.
The first of three ODIs begins on Friday 8 June.
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