In a low-scoring match, New Zealand overhauled Australia’s total of 9-80 in the 18th over with captain Haidee Tiffen (15 not out) and Amy Satterthwaite (9 not out) guiding the home team to victory.
In cool and breezy conditions, Tiffen won the toss and elected to bowl and was immediately rewarded with the wicket of Australia opener Shelley Nitchske from the second ball of the innings.
Wickets continued to fall as Australia was reduced to 6-53 during the 15th over with Alex Blackwell, Karen Rolton, Lisa Sthalekar, Sarah Edwards and Kate Blackwell joining Nitschke in the pavilion as the White Ferns assumed control.
Sarah Burke was the pick of the New Zealand bowlers with 3-15 off her allocated overs as the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars reached 9-80 at the completion of their innings.
Four wickets at the start of New Zealand’s chase briefly halted the home team’s flow and then Nitschke claimed the vital wicket of Sara McGlashan (25 from 21 balls) in the 12th over to have New Zealand struggling at 5-50.
A wicket to Lisa Sthalekar in the next over gave the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars a glimmer of hope but Tiffen and Satterthwaite added the required 23 runs to ensure New Zealand secured its first Twenty20 international victory over Australia.
Nitschke finished with 2-17 off four overs, with Emma Sampson, Ellyse Perry and Sthalekar the other wicket-takers.
Australia captain Rolton offered no excuses for the loss.
“The conditions were good. The weather was fine and a bit windy and the pitch was good, but we just didn’t score enough runs,” she said.
“We were going to bat first anyway and were looking at around 150, so we were a little disappointed.
“The New Zealand girls bowled really well, they bowled good lines and kept the pace off the ball and made it difficult for us to score freely.
“There are still plenty of positives to take out of the match and the batting will need to improve. I thought we bowled and fielded really well, held all our catches and bowled with good consistency.
“Our batters just tended to hit the ball at one pace straight to the fielders a bit too often, but with a bit of work in the lead-up to the next match that can easily be fixed.
“The one-day series should be a great contest and we’re really looking forward to the challenge over the next couple of weeks.”
The Rose Bowl Series starts on Saturday with the first of five one-day internationals. All matches will be played at Bert Sutcliffe Oval in Lincoln, Christchurch.
Rose Bowl Series
Sat 8 March: Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars v New Zealand, 10.30am
Sun 9 March: Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars v New Zealand, 10.30am
Wed 12 March: Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars v New Zealand, 10.30am
Sat 15 March: Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars v New Zealand, 10.30am
Sun 16 March: Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars v New Zealand, 10.30am
photos Janos Schmidt