Chasing six runs per over in a 25-over per side fixture, New Zealand promoted Katey Martin to open with Hayley Jensen. Opening the bowling was the 18-year-old debutant pacer, Darcie Brown. Apart from a couple of wides, Martin struggled to put bat on ball against fast bowler, who was clocking early 120 kmphs. In the last ball of the over, she edged one through the vacant second slip region for a boundary.
Though Megan Schutt and Brown opened the bowling, it did not take long for Australia to bring on spinners into the attack. With Schutt and Jess Jonassen varying the pace, making it difficult for the openers to play their shots, Martin and Jensen could not keep up the run rate. Eventually, Martin got out trying to hit Schutt down the ground for five runs from 14 balls.
Soon, Nicola Carey and Ashleigh Gardner were bowling in tandem with Healy standing up to the stumps. In the five overs they bowled together, New Zealand managed to score only 18 runs. The pressure built by the duo paid dividends when Jensen got out tried to go after Georgia Wareham for a 29-ball 13.
Amelia Kerr, who walked in at number four, did not last long as she got runout courtesy of a terrible mixup between her and Amy Satterthwaite. Gardner came back for her second spell with two left-handers, Brooke Halliday and Satterthwaite, in the middle. She kept deceiving them both by turning it away from the off-stump line and eventually got the edge of Satterthwaite.
With the pitch turning square, Lanning used the Jonassen, Gardner and Wareham to tighten the screws. Frustrated by the lack of pace, Halliday and Maddy Green tried to impose some power into their slogs, only to see them fell short of the fielders in the boundary. They added 22 runs in 31 balls before Halliday got out to Wareham for a 22-ball 15.
After 20 overs, New Zealand had slipped down to 77 for six, needing 73 runs from 30 balls. Jess Kerr and Lauren Down went after Wareham and Carey hitting 23 runs off the next ten deliveries. Carey had the final laugh as she dismissed Jess for 17 runs from eight balls. Despite some late fireworks from Tahuhu, they fell short by 21 runs. Jonassen completed her five overs for just 14 runs, picking up the wicket of Green.
Earlier, put in to bat by New Zealand, Healy and Beth Mooney got Australia off to a flier. Healy, who was the aggressor in the partnership, took advantage of the strong breeze blowing from one end. Whenever the breeze was in her direction, she went through with her shots, hitting the New Zealand seamers through the line on a pitch that did not have much pace in it. She smashed Rosemary Mair for back-to-back boundaries, and when Leigh Kasperek came on, Healy was quick to use her feet and hit her with the breeze.
Mooney, at the other end, resorted to a few unconventional shots to score behind the wicket. There were early signs as to how the pitch would behave when Kasperek deceived Healy with a slow drifter and almost got her out. Despite a couple of half-chances, the duo added 73 runs in the first ten overs before Mooney got out to Lea Tahuhu for 28 runs from 26 balls.
Kasperek came back again, and this time, she did not disappoint her skipper. First, she deceived Healy with lack of pace as the opener holed out to long-on fielder, falling four short of her half-century. A couple of deliveries later, Gardner was stumped, and Rachael Haynes hit one back on to the stumps. The off-spinner single-handedly brought New Zealand back into the game with a three-wicker maiden.
From 73 for zero, they slumped to 80 for four. With the experienced Meg Lanning and Ellyse Perry in the middle, Australia looked to rebuild the innings. However, Kasperek and Amelia bowled tight lines without giving any pace to the batters and ensured that runs weren't easy to come by. In the next five overs, Perry and Lanning added just 23 runs, and when it seemed like they were recovering, the former got out to Jess for a 15-ball 13.
Lanning, who struggled to get herself going, did not last long after that, as Lea Tahuhu got rid of the Australian skipper for 15 runs from 23 balls. With six overs to go, the onus was on Carey and Wareham to build the momentum back. Despite the lack of boundaries, they kept the scoreboard moving with singles and doubles. Carey got out to Jess in the penultimate over of the innings, and the tourists, eventually, finished at 149 for seven after 25 overs. Kasperek, inevitably, was the pick of the bowler with three wickets for 24 runs in her five overs.
Australia 149/7 in 25 overs (Alyssa Healy 46; Leigh Kasperek 3/24) beat New Zealand 128/9 in 25 overs (Lea Tahuhu 21; Megan Schutt 2/22) by 21 runs. POTM: Alyssa Healy