Chasing New Zealand’s total of 132, the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars cruised to victory in the 33rd over with vice-captain Lisa Sthalekar leading the way with 45 not out.
Sthalekar was supported by opener Shelley Nitschke’s 27, an innings that included six boundaries and set the tone for Australia’s run chase.
New Zealand’s bowling attack had a disappointing day and contributed more than 20 per cent of Australia’s total after sending down 28 wides.
In contrast, the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars were impressive with the ball.
“I thought our bowlers performed well and maybe the pitch suited three spinners,” Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars captain Karen Rolton said.
“Clea Smith’s 10 overs in a row were really good and set us up to restrict their score to 132.
“It was good to chase with the bat and get the target in 33 overs. It was a good hit-out and hopefully we can improve on a few more things for tomorrow.”
After winning the toss and electing to bat, New Zealand stumbled to 5-44 before being all out in the 47th over, with Sarah Tsukigawa and Nicole Browne providing the bulk of the runs with 31 and 30 respectively.
Good hitting from Browne and Tsukigawa took the score to 105 in the 38th over before both were dismissed in the space of four overs. Browne’s stumping off the bowling of Nitschke sparked a batting collapse, with the final five wickets of New Zealand’s innings falling for 27 runs.
Australia’s bowlers shared the wickets with Smith (2-15), Emma Sampson (2-19), Sarah Andrews (2-22) and Shelley Nitschke (2-29) combining to bowl New Zealand out in the 47th over.
“We looked at footage from the Twenty20 match and found areas we could target. We put the ball in those spots and got the results today,” Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars coach Lisa Keightley said.
“Getting a few wickets early put them on the back foot which they found it hard to get back from. They didn’t handle the spin too well either and we were able to get a few more wickets there.
“We wanted to bat with good intent and tried to get the runs in 25 to 30 overs.”
After a fast start to the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars’ innings, Nitschke’s exit in the 15th over allowed New Zealand to claw their way into the contest after Melissa Bulow and Rolton were dismissed cheaply.
However Sthalekar and Kate Blackwell regained control and accumulated an unbeaten 76-run partnership to deliver the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars a 1-0 series lead.
The second one-day international in the Rose Bowl Series will be held tomorrow. Play starts at 10.00am at Gardens Oval in Darwin.
The full scoreboard from today’s match is available on Cricket Australia’s website, www.cricket.com.au. Cricket.com.au is providing live scores of all matches throughout the series.
Photographs from today’s match are available from Getty Images.
Top End Series Schedule
Rose Bowl Series
2nd ODI: Sunday 22 July, Australia v New Zealand, 10.00am-5.05pm
3rd ODI: Wednesday 25 July, Australia v New Zealand, 10.00am-5.05pm
4th ODI: Saturday 28 July, Australia v New Zealand, 10.00am-5.05pm
5th ODI: Sunday 29 July, Australia v New Zealand, 10.00am-5.05pm