While Australia won the series 3-2, it was New Zealand’s day as they easily chased down Australia’s 9-180, with White Ferns captain Haidee Tiffen providing the decisive innings of 66 not out.
After the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars won the toss and elected to bat, openers Shelley Nitschke (47) and Melissa Bulow (51) got the innings off to a great start with a partnership of 84 to set the home team on track for a high total.
However Australia’s innings faltered after the fall of their second wicket. Cruising at 1-115 in the 32nd over, Australia lost 4-6 in five overs before finishing with a score considerably lower than expected.
Bulow’s departure shortly after she reached her half century sparked the collapse, with the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars losing captain Karen Rolton for 17, and then Kate Blackwell and Kris Britt in quick succession to spoil the strong platform that Australia’s opening pair had provided.
Late hitting from Alex Blackwell (27 from 37) gave the total a lift but it was not enough to deny New Zealand victory.
“We got off to a great start and were hitting the targets that we wanted, but consecutive wickets in the middle of the innings cost us a good score of 230 or more,” Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars coach Lisa Keightley said.
“Overall however it’s been fantastic being involved in my first series. I’ve learned a lot and it’s given me a great stepping stone in terms of knowing how the group works and what we need improve on.
“We lost two experienced bowlers through injuries in the series but in saying that, a couple of young girls have been able to come in and they’ll be better for the experience. I was really proud of the way they performed.”
New Zealand’s run chase started well with Maria Fahey contributing 35, but momentum swung Australia’s way in the 22nd over when Sara McGlashan was forced to retire hurt after hitting a boundary and twisting her right knee. Next ball, new batter Sarah Tsukigawa was out caught behind to leave New Zealand 4-75.
However Tiffen and Rachel Priest produced a powerful match-winning partnership of 57 for the sixth wicket to finish the tight series as New Zealand reach the target with more than four overs to spare.
New Zealand's Nicola Browne was named player of the series.
The full scoreboard from today’s match is available on Cricket Australia’s website, www.cricket.com.au.
photos Janos Schmidt