Chasing 171, New Zealand’s middle order duo of Sara McGlashan (41) and Nicola Browne (59 not out) were the difference, with the pair posting a 100-run partnership to ensure the home team moved to within one victory of its first Rose Bowl Series triumph since 1999.
After Australia captain Karen Rolton won the toss and elected to bat, the top order failed to fire with none of the top five batters reaching double figures as the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars slumped to 5-24 in the 17th over.
Two wickets in the first over of the match set the tone, before Jodie Purves (21) and Ellyse Perry (51) - as well as a strong contribution from Leonie Coleman (44) – rescued the Australian innings for the second time in as many matches.
Purves and Perry added 40 for the sixth wicket and then the New South Wales teenager combined with Coleman in an 80-run stand. Both Perry and Coleman recorded their highest one-day international scores and their partnership was scored off just 14 overs.
After being tied down early in her innings, Coleman accelerated her scoring and compiled 44 off 42 balls, including five boundaries, to give the Australian bowlers a competitive total to defend.
New Zealand opening bowler Helen Watson was the pick of the home team’s attack with 1-11 off 10 overs.
Rolton pulled a surprise at the start of New Zealand’s innings and threw the ball to off-spinner Shelley Nitshcke, a move that had immediate success with the left-armer trapping Amy Mason LBW for eight in the second over.
Two wickets to Kirsten Pike had New Zealand in trouble at 3-36, but McGlashan and Browne exceeded the earlier efforts of Purves and Perry by compiling a century stand to guide the home team to a position of strength midway through the innings.
Despite McGlashan’s departure for 41 in the 34th over, the White Ferns cruised to victory and a 2-1 series lead with almost eight overs to spare.
Pike (2-32) and Nitschke (2-45) each took two wickets for the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars.
“Our batting let us down again and losing five early wickets was obviously not ideal. However I thought Jodie and Ellyse did really well to get the innings going and Leonie Coleman was great,” Rolton said.
“When we had them at 3-36 we were in with a chance, but they batted too well. We’re having a bit of trouble getting Nicola Browne out at the moment.
“Down 2-1 in the series, we know exactly what we need to do in the last two matches, so we’ll be looking to improve the batting on Saturday to give ourselves a chance.”
The White Ferns can claim the Rose Bowl with a win in the fourth match of the series to be played at Bert Sutcliffe Oval in Lincoln on Saturday.
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Rose Bowl Series – New Zealand lead 2-1
Sat 8 March: Australia won by 63 runs
Sun 9 March: New Zealand won by 82 runs
Wed 12 March: New Zealand won by five wickets
Sat 15 March: Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars v New Zealand, 10.30am
Sun 16 March: Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars v New Zealand, 10.30am