Schutt, batters help Australia register record 22nd ODI win on the bounce

From L-R: Alyssa Healy, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Ashleigh Gardner. © Getty Images/Women's CricZone

Australia continued their unbeaten run in ODIs, notching up their record 22nd successive win on the trot after turning up victorious in the first match of the Rose Bowl Trophy against New Zealand at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui on Sunday (April 4). Ahead of the match, Meg Lanning’s team was level with Ricky Ponting’s side’s record of 21 consecutive wins in ODIs. Alyssa Healy, Ellyse Perry and Ashleigh Gardner struck half centuries for the tourists while Megan Schutt returned four for 32, starring in the six-wicket win.

Healy didn’t tee off from the word go. She was watchful at the start, giving respect to Rosemary Mair’s disciplined bowling at the start. Jess Kerr got rid of Rachael Haynes (14) at the other end, caught brilliantly by a diving Katey Martin with the gloves. Lanning soon walked back for five, nicking one off Hannah Rowe. It seemed the record would just be a bit too far for Australia.

Healy then started expressing herself and playing her shots. She took a special liking to Rowe, hitting her for a four and a six off successive overs. She also took apart Lea Tahuhu, who was making a comeback from her hamstring injury. Eventually, a drop by Tahuhu on the long-on boundary off Amelia Kerr saw Healy complete her half century in 57 balls.

The wicketkeeper-batter was given another life when Hayley Jensen grassed a tough return chance, before Kerr dismissed her for 65 off just 68 balls. Then Amy Satterthwaite got rid of Beth Mooney before Ashleigh Gardner joined forces with Ellyse Perry.

The duo quelled any little chance there was of a New Zealand comeback and ensured Australia owned the record. In the process, Perry hit her 28th ODI half century while Gardner hit the winning six, thereby completing only her second ODI fifty. The duo also added an unconquered 79 for the fifth wicket.

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Earlier, it was the same old story at the start with the bat for New Zealand. They lost Jensen early, who was bowled by Megan Schutt on the first ball she faced, after they were asked to bat first. Satterthwaite then got together with Lauren Down, who opened the innings, and resurrected the innings.

The pair took their time to settle in, playing out dots in the process, and kept the Australian bowlers at bay for 69 runs. Satterthwaite looked fluent and used her feet well against Jess Jonassen. But soon, the New Zealand skipper fell to Nicola Carey for 32, trying to loft her over mid-on.

Kerr then walked out even as Down held one end and rotated the strike. Down, meanwhile, completed her maiden half century in international cricket, working Jonassen to the on side for a single on the 90th ball she faced.

Down and Kerr then sped up the scoring, not letting Georgia Wareham settle. Tayla Vlaeminck, in her second spell, wasn’t spared either as 28 runs were scored in the four overs after Down’s landmark. It took a controversial decision to end the partnership which was worth 90 at that point.

Kerr missed cutting a Schutt delivery and was ruled out stumped, despite replays showing that she had her bat grounded inside the crease, before the bails were dislodged. From that point, when the hosts were two for 159, they lost their last eight wickets for just 53 more runs to be dismissed for 212. Schutt picked up her fifth four-wicket haul in ODIs while Nicola Carey chipped in with three, including that of Down for 90.

It was the seventh time in the last nine ODIs that New Zealand were bowled out.

Brief Scores: New Zealand 212 all out in 48.5 overs (Lauren Down 90, Amelia Kerr 33, Amy Satterthwaite 32; Megan Schutt 4/32, Nicola Carey 3/34) lost to Australia 215/4 in 38.3 overs (Alyssa Healy 65, Ellyse Perry 56*, Ashleigh Gardner 53*) by six wickets. PoTM: Megan Schutt