Australia and New Zealand are competing in a rather odd three game T20 series in final preparation for the Women's World Cup which starts in just 9 days. The first two of the games were played today with New Zealand triumphing by six wickets in the first game (with two balls remaining) and Australia by five wickets in the second (with just one ball remaining). The deciding game will be played on Thursday.
In the first match Australia got off to a disastrous start with Alyssa Healey being run out off the first ball of the match and Jess Cameron then gloving an attempted sweep shot to the keeper off the third ball - 0 for 2. When Lisa Sthalekar then fell to a good catch at square leg in the fourth over Australia were in all sorts of bother at 15 for 3, but Meg Lanning (76) and Alex Blackwell (29) settled things down with a fine partnership of 75 before Blackwell departed. But Lanning then took control and with help from skipper Jodie Fields (17no) Australia reached a passable score of 151 for 7 off their 20 overs. Things looked bleak for the White Ferns when they lost Lucy Doolan and Amy Satterthwaite early in their reply, but solid contributions from Suzie Bates (42), Sophie Devine (39), Frances MacKay (24no) and Nicola Browne (34no off 17 balls including three 6s) saw them close in on the target, but they still needed 29 from the last two overs. Browne clattered 19 of the 21 runs scored from the unfortunate Sarah Coyte's penultimate over of the match and finished it in the next.
scorecard - http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/current/match/599663.html
In the second match New Zealand batted first but could only accumulate 132 for 6 in their 20 overs. A good start got them to 121 for 2, but the innings fell away in the last few overs as they failed to build on the good work done by the top order. In reply it was once again Meg Lanning who led from the front with another well-paced 64 off 56 balls. With wickets in hand as the overs started to slip by the Australian middle-order managed to squeeze out the runs they needed although they left themselves with nine required from the last over. A four apiece from Jodie Fields and Sarah Coyte (from the penultimate ball) saw them home. It was an up and down day for both teams and in particular for Coyte.
scorecard - http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/current/match/599664.html