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Southern Stars Bounce Back to Level Rose Bowl Series
The Southern Stars have bounced back to record a tense three run victory over the White Ferns in the final Twenty20 match in Invercargill this afternoon.
The nail-biting win sees the Australians level the Rose Bowl Series at 2-2 with three One Day International matches remaining in the series.
Post-match Southern Stars Captain Alex Blackwell said she was delighted with the win that was set up by a solid batting performance which saw the Stars make a bumper total of 9-166:
"That was our highest score in any Twenty20 match so we were very pleased with that.
"We thought a par score on this ground would be 140, so it was fantastic to exceed our expectations.
"Our bowling was also good especially in the first six overs where we were able to get some early wickets.
"We knew they would hit back as they have several clean hitters down the order who had the ability to get the runs".
Blackwell also paid tribute to Clea Smith who held her nerve to bowl extremely well in the tense final over.
"Clea is very experienced and it was great to be able to call on her to deliver in the final over.
"We talked through the over and wanted to get dot balls early to really put the pressure on.
"To come away with the win and to go into the three One Day matches with less pressure on us is a good feeling," Blackwell said.
Batting first the Australians, who had struggled with consistency in the last two matches, looked confident and determined to level the series with a strong performance at the crease.
Despite losing opener Meg Lanning early, the Australians remained in control as Leah Poulton single-handedly took to the kiwi bowling attack to bolster the Australian run rate.
Poulton put together a superb individual innings, making a half century off only 31 deliveries which included 3 fours and 3 sixes before being dismissed in the 12th over.
The Australian run rate continued to blossom as Southern Stars Captain Alex Blackwell made a steady 33 from 29 balls and Jessica Cameron blasted her way to 30 off 18 balls to ensure the Australians would post a large tally.
Tail-ender Renee Farell also found the boundary on several occasions before the White Ferns cleaned up the tail taking four wickets in the last three overs with Suzie Bates the best for the kiwis picking up 4-26.
However, the damage had been done early as Australia finished on 9-166 off their twenty overs.
In the reply, the White Ferns, as they had done in the previous two matches, attacked at any opportunity until the dangerous Suzie Bates was dismissed by Rene Farrell in the third over.
Just as White Ferns captain Aimee Watkins looked to be comfortable at the crease, Southern Star Clea Smith's delivery tore Watkin's wickets apart, dismissing the captain in what was a crucial wicket for the Australians.
Despite losing two wickets, the New Zealand run rate increased as Amy Satterthwaite (40 from 31 balls) and Sara McGlashan (31 from 20 balls) looked to continue their form from the last two matches, blasting the ball to and beyond the boundary to keep their side in the contest.
The breakthrough for the Australians came in the 12th over after Satterthwaite picked out Jessica Cameron at wide mid-wicket to hand Shelley Nitschke the much needed wicket.
McGlashan's wicket came in the following over with the ball finding Cameron's hands yet again, this time off Lisa Sthalekar's bowling.
Australia appeared to be in the driver's seat with five overs to go as the White Ferns required a further 50 runs for the win.
However, New Zealand pair Nicola Brown and Elizabeth Perry had other ideas as the two revived the White Ferns chances, building a steady partnership to keep their side in with a chance.
With one over to go, the match looked to have slipped from Australia's hands as the White Ferns needed only 7 runs to steal the win.
Southern Star Clea Smith had the tense job of bowling the final over and did not let her side down as she grabbed Browne's wicket and limited the scoring opportunities for the White Ferns to get Australia over the line for a famous victory.
The Rose Bowl Series, tied at 2-2, now hits its climax with the teams travelling to Lincoln for three final One Day International matches at Bert Sutcliffe Oval to decide the series.
After the win today Blackwell believes the Australians are in a good position to take the Rose Bowl series:
"We have had good success against New Zealand in One-day Internationals so are looking forward to playing the last three matches", Blackwell said.
A full scorecard can be found here: http://livescores.cricket.com.au/scoreboard_2597_5.html
Follow the team on Twitter: @_SouthernStars http://twitter.com/#!/_SouthernStars
Rose Bowl Series
28 December 2010- Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars v New Zealand, Seddon Park:
30 December 2010- Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars v New Zealand, Saxton Field:
Aus Win by 4 wickets
18 February Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars v New Zealand Queens Park
New Zealand Win by 19 runs
19 February Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars v New Zealand Queens Park
New Zealand Win by 14 runs
20 February Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars v New Zealand Queens Park
Australia Win by 3 runs
24 February Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars v New Zealand Bert Sutcliffe Oval
26 February Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars v New Zealand Bert Sutcliffe Oval
28 February Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars v New Zealand Bert Sutcliffe Oval
Southern Stars Bounce Back to Level Rose Bowl Series