Allround Amelia Kerr helps New Zealand register a thrilling win in the final T20I; Australia take series 2-1

An allround performance from Amelia Kerr and a 52-run partnership between Amy Satterthwaite and Katey Martin gave New Zealand a consolation five-wicket win over Australia in the third and final T20I at the Allan Border Field in Brisbane on Wednesday (September 30). While the hosts sealed the series 2-1, the victory saw New Zealand break their 13-match losing streak against Australia.

Chasing a target of 124 to win, New Zealand started cautiously and the openers made a conscious effort to rotate the strike but could score only nine in the first three overs. Sophie Devine swept Jonassen for a huge six in the fourth over – the first real aggressive shot of their innings – but Maddy Green fell to a catch at deep mid-wicket when she tried to follow suit in the next over.

It all looked like a familiar tale for New Zealand when Devine and Suzie Bates departed in space of two balls in the eighth over leaving them tottering at 44 for 3. First, leg-spinner Georgia Wareham got Devine to run past one and then Rachael Haynes’ pinpoint throw found Bates short at the non-striker’s end.

A comfortable looking Satterthwaite, picked the gaps on the leg-side with excellent placement and also showed her grace when she square-drove Delissa Kimmince for four. Alongside Martin (23), she put on 52 runs for the fourth wicket reducing the target to 28 from 28 balls with seven wickets in hand.

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But the spinners brought Australia back into the game with Wareham getting Martin to miss a straight one before Satterthwaite dragged Jess Jonassen onto the stumps in the next over. Only eight runs came from the next 15 balls in this period but Hayley Jensen edged one to third-man off Schutt to score the first boundary in 26 deliveries.

In the 19th over, Amelia smashed Sophie Molineux between mid-off and cover for another four leaving New Zealand to score eight for a win the last over. She dispatched the experienced Megan Schutt for back-to-back boundaries – first over mid-off and then one through square-leg – to take New Zealand home with three balls to spare. She remained not out on 18 from 10 balls.

Earlier, New Zealand won their third toss in a row and put Australia in to bat. Jess Kerr, playing her first match of the series, set the tone for the visitors’ when she started with a maiden. Devine got a confident Beth Mooney to nick behind with a delivery that seamed just enough to take the edge. She then had Lanning dropped at slip the next ball by Satterthwaite. Lanning took the hitting duties in the powerplay overs and smashed four boundaries featuring a couple of her trademark square drives with New Zealand giving her width on the off-side.

Right after the powerplay, Healy hit Lea Tahuhu straight to backward-point to end her scratchy innings for eight. In the next over, Haynes pulled one straight to Satterthwaite at mid-wicket off the bowling of Amelia. Soon, Australia were reduced to 57 for 4 when Amelia got Lanning with a full toss.

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Gardner, who scored a match-winning 61 in the first T20I, tried to counter-attack with a few boundaries but missed one trying to come down the track and was dismissed for 29. The host’s lower-order batters tried to give the innings the final flourish but the boundaries were few and far between as they struggled to force the pace with the bowlers keeping it straight at the stumps. Australia finished on 123 for 7 from their 20 overs, their lowest first innings total in T20Is since 2016.

New Zealand also had a much-improved show on the field including a brilliant catch by Bates on the boundary that saw the back of Wareham.

Amelia, who had her best spell of the series so far, finished with figures of 2 for 18. Tahuhu took two wickets including the prized scalp of Healy, while three other bowlers shared one wicket each.

Brief Scores: Australia 123/7 in 20 overs (Ashleigh Gardner 29, Meg Lanning 21; Amelia Kerr 2-18, Lea Tahuhu 2-29) lost to New Zealand 125/5 in 19.3 overs (Amy Satterthwaite 30, Katey Martin 23; Georgia Wareham 2-19) by five wickets. POTM: Amelia Kerr; POTS: Ashleigh Gardner