Australia captain Meg Lanning brushed it off when she was asked about the hamstring niggle after the second ODI. "I was able to bat through, nothing major. Hopefully, I will be good for Wednesday," she had said during the post-match media interaction. As it turned out, she had to miss the third match due to a low-grade right hamstring strain. Tahlia McGrath came in for her, and Haynes took over the captaincy.
After losing the toss and put in to bat, the onus was on Healy and Haynes to build a good partnership. With the New Zealand seamers making the ball move around, they had a cautious start to the innings. Rosemary Mair and Holly Huddleston kept the Australia openers on the toes with tight lines. Both Haynes and Healy made sure they did not give away an early wicket like in the first two matches. However, they did not fail to maximise the odd poor deliveries from the Kiwi bowlers.
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After a sedate start in the first ten overs, Healy accelerated as she hit Sophie Devine for a couple of boundaries. Haynes was happy to play second-fiddle while putting away the bad deliveries. The duo brought up the 100-run partnership in the 21st over.
The right-handed opener broke the shackles with an array of boundaries in the next few overs. After completing her fifty in 63 balls, she smashed 37 runs in the next 24 deliveries before getting out to leg-spinner Amelia Kerr. Haynes continued her good form with the bat, as she got to her second fifty in the series in 67 balls. She negotiated Kerr, who was the pick of their bowlers, carefully and capitalised on others.
Joined by the 18-year-old Annabel Sutherland, the stand-in skipper pressed the foot down as they entered into the last 15 overs. Haynes hit counterpart Devine for back-to-back boundaries, and Sutherland hit a massive six of Huddleston down the ground. They added 78 runs for the second wicket before Sutherland was clean while trying to sweep Kerr.
Haynes fell four short of her second international century as Kerr struck her in front of the pads. A late flourish from Ashleigh Gardner and Beth Mooney took the team past 300. Garnder made a 20-ball 34 while Mooney remained not out with a 19-ball 29. Coming in at number seven, McGrath smashed a quickfire 29 off just 11 balls. Australia ended the innings with 325/5, scoring 55 runs from the last three overs.
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In reply, New Zealand was off to a horror start as they lost Devine in the third ball of the chase. The visiting skipper tried to pull Megan Schutt off the length and was caught by Sophie Molineux at short mid-wicket. Amy Satterthwaite was joined by Natalie Dodd, as the former tried to get the innings going with a couple of boundaries off Schutt. However, it was another short-pitched delivery that brought the breakthrough for Australia. Dodd top-edged a pull against Sutherland and was caught by Gardner.
Amelia Kerr followed suit without troubling the scorers as she dragged her first ball back on to the stumps. New Zealand was stuttering at 28/3, and soon they were reduced to 42/4 as Jess Jonassen dismissed Katey Martin in her first over. Satterthwaite played a few beautiful shots at the other end. In the sixteenth over, she lofted Jonassen down the ground for a boundary. However, she fell the very next ball trying to repeat the shot, only to be caught at covers for 41.
Though Maddy Green hit a few boundaries occasionally, the Australian bowlers did not take too long to break her partnership with Katie Perkins. The latter was dismissed for 26-ball six, courtesy to a brilliant stumping by Healy. New Zealand were reduced to 73/6 after 21 overs. The rest of the batters fell like a pack of cards. With Molineux and Gardner picking up a couple of wickets each as New Zealand were all out for 93 in 27 overs.
Brief Scores: Australia 325/5 (Rachael Haynes 96, Alyssa Healy 87, Amelia Kerr 3/50) beat New Zealand 93/10 in 27 overs (Amy Satterthwaite 41, Jess Jonassen 2/16, Sophie Molineux 2/2) by 232 runs. POTM & POTS: Rachael Haynes.