New Zealand will head to India today for the World Cup in great spirits after completing an historic 2-1 series victory over rivals Australia at Melbourne's Junction Oval. They won the third T20 match by seven wickets to record their first series win over Australia in Australia since 1980.
Australia decided to rest the run-machine that is Meg Lanning, presumably to try and encourage the rest of the top order to take some responsibility in setting a decent total, but only Jess Cameron was able to respond as she hit 48 off 36 balls including two big sixes to the midwicket boundary. But the tone was set for New Zealand by Morna Nielsen's slow left arm bowling. She opened and raced through her four overs claiming 1 for 9. Behind the clock after the first 10 overs, the Australia innings never really got going and when Cameron fell with the score at 88 it began to splutter badly with boundaries hard to come by. In the end they could muster only 134 for 5 in their 20 overs, which always looked to be 20/30 runs short on the big fast outfield of the Junction Oval.
So it proved to be as Lucy Doolan (35) and Suzie Bates (67) cruised to an opening partnership of 101, and despite them both falling soon after the White Ferns were able to waltz passed the Aussie's total with seven wickets and 11 balls in hand.
T20 is not ODI cricket, but the White Ferns must take a great deal of confidence from this brief series. Australia on the other hand have possibly raised more questions than they solved. Provided Meg Lanning retains her form then they will score runs, but their bowling looks ineffective, particularly in the spin department. They have already lost slow left-armer Jess Jonassen to injury, and off-spinner Erin Osborne missed yesterday's game with "a niggle". Worrying times for Australia with just seven days before they start their World Cup campaign.