Allround Australia continue dominance over New Zealand; go 1-0 up   

Meg Lanning (R) is being congratulated by Sophie Molineux. © Getty Images

An unbeaten half-century from Meg Lanning (62 not out, 70 balls) and a brilliant knock by Rachael Haynes (44) at the top coupled with a spectacular bowling performance helped Australia continue their dominance over New Zealand with yet another convincing victory as the hosts emerged winners by seven wickets in the first of three ODIs at the Allan Border ground on Saturday (October 3).

With this win, Australia have 19 consecutive wins under their belt and if they whitewash New Zealand in the series, the Lanning-led side will equal the world record of 21 wins held by former men’s skipper Ricky Ponting’s 2003 side. Chasing a below-par 181 to win, Australia took just 33.4 overs to go 1-0 up in the series.

Unlike their opposition, the Australian openers Haynes and Alyssa Healy went into attack from the first over itself. Healy, in particular, went berserk against Lea Tahuhu, hitting the pacer for three consecutive boundaries in the fifth over. Haynes too got into mood knocking a couple from the other end as well. However, Healy’s breezy innings came to an end when she was brilliantly caught one-handed by Amelia Kerr for almost run-a-ball 26.

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Haynes along with Lanning then stitched a 65-run partnership before the former fell short of her well-deserved half-century. Beth Mooney and (16) and Sophie Molineux (18 not out) also contributed. For New Zealand, Rosemary Mair took 2/21 while Hayley Jensen got the other one. Meanwhile, Haynes added a feather to her hat when she surpassed Leah Poulton (289 runs) as the highest ODI run-scorer at this venue.

Earlier, Australia were right on the money from the beginning. Natalie Dodd, who last played an ODI back in 2016 against South Africa, took some time initially before opening her arms against Annabel Sutherland in the fourth over hitting the debutant for a four and a six. Sutherland replaced Delissa Kimmince from the T20I side, who was nursing hamstring soreness.

However, the joy was shortlived as the right-hander pulled Megan Schutt straight to Ashleigh Gardner at the boundary line for a 21-ball 19. Amy Satterthwaite (one) joined Suzie Bates in the middle but didn’t trouble the scorers much gifting Sutherland her maiden ODI wicket in the sixth over.

Schutt was devastating in particular as the right-handed pacer produced an extraordinary 24 dot balls including a maiden in her opening spell. Such was the fierceness of her bowling as both Bates and Sophie Devine struggled to get going. Before the game, Australia coach Matthew Mott predicted that spinners would play a huge role in the series and the same was on display in the day.

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Australia skipper Meg Lanning brought in spinners Georgia Wareham and Jess Jonassen from both the ends and the move paid dividends soon. Trying to send a juicy full toss from Wareham, the big-hitting Bates ended up giving a simple catch to Ashleigh Gardner at deep mid-wicket, much to her astonishment.

Thereafter it was really tough for Devine (11), Katey Martins (21) and Amelia Kerr (seven) to free their arms as the maintained a disciplined line and length as the trio consumed a combined 90 balls for just 39 runs. With New Zealand 83/6 in the 28th over and t7he way wickets kept tumbling on, it looked like once reaching 150 would be a big deal.

But a 60-run vital partnership from Katie Perkins (32) and Maddy Green (35) down the order helped the visitors cross the 150-run mark in the 44th over. Hayley Jensen (21) produced a brief knock late in the innings to propel her team to 180 all out in 49.5 overs.

Wareham proved to be most economical among the spin trio giving away only 23 runs in her 10 overs picking up two wickets in the process. Sophie Molineux and Jonassen had their figures 10-3-28-2 and 9.1-0-29-2, respectively. Meanwhile, Gardner had to leave the field midway after she injured her finger while taking the second of her three catches and was taken for X-Ray. Although, she was available to bat but not required.

Brief scores: New Zealand 180 all out in 49.5 overs (Katie Perkins 32, Maddy Green 35; Georgia Wareham 2/23, Sophie Molineux 2/28, Jess Jonassen 2/29) lost to Australia 181/3 in 33.4 overs (Meg Lanning 62*, Rachael Haynes 44; Rosemary Mair 2/21) by seven wickets. POTM: Georgia Wareham.