The victory gives Australia an unbeatable 3-1 lead with one match to play and is the seventh straight time they have won the Rose Bowl to underscore their dominance of international women’s cricket.
After being sent into bat and making 7-198 from their allotted overs, the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars looked headed for an easy win after having the White Ferns at 5-54 in the 21st over.
However Nicola Browne (61) and Rachel Priest (33) spearheaded New Zealand’s recovery to set up a tense finish in the final overs.
Captain Karen Rolton starred for the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars with an unbeaten 81 from 131 balls. The knock was her 28th one-day international half century and included eight boundaries and a six. She was well-supported by opener Melissa Bulow, who made 41 from 62 balls.
“It’s great to win the series, especially since we’ve had new players come in and with the injuries we’ve had here. It’s been good to play against a great team in this series and have these close matches to increase the experience of the players in those situations,” Rolton said.
“For Rene Farrell to come in and pick up three wickets in her first match was fantastic for us and the young ones have been doing really well.
“We hadn’t played any games before this series and it’s been a really good hit-out. You couldn’t ask for anything more than a couple of the games to be decided in the last over. We don’t want to lose any games we play, so tomorrow we’ll be trying to finish off this series 4-1.”
Farrell’s debut for the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars started in fine style, with the 20-year-old taking a wicket in each of her opening two overs.
The 110th woman to play one-day international cricket for Australia dismissed Sara McGlashan and then New Zealand captain Haidee Tiffen to have the White Ferns reeling.
However Browne and Priest had New Zealand on track for an unlikely victory with a partnership of 74 before Kris Britt produced a crucial run out to give the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars the upper hand.
There were some anxious moments in the following overs but tight bowling from Emma Sampson and Sarah Andrews late in the innings ensured Australia retained the Rose Bowl.
Farrell (3-36), Sampson (2-30) and Andrews (2-34) were the pick of the Australian bowlers with Britt the other wicket-taker with 1-26.