Australia Women 166-9 (Poulton 50) beat
New Zealand Women 163-7 (Smith 3-23) by 3 runs
Fifth Twenty20 International, Invercargill
The five-match Twenty20 International series between Australia Women and New Zealand Women was drawn 2-2 following a thrilling three-run win for Australia in the final game in Invercargill.
The away side held on to win as New Zealand closed on 163 for seven in reply to 166 for nine - a score that had been set up by Leah Poulton's maiden T20 International half-century.
She scored 50 in 31 balls, hitting three fours and three sixes opening the batting alongside Meg Lanning, who made 12, and although Shelley Nitschke (13) also fell cheaply, the middle order backed up Poulton's efforts.
Alex Blackwell made 33 in 29 balls and Jessica Cameron 30 in 18 to propel Australia to their best score of the series and the highest by either side.
Suzie Bates took four for 26 in three overs as there was a late flurry of wickets.
New Zealand openers Bates (15) and Aimee Watkins (20) then made a good start and their work was continued when Amy Satterthwaite hit 40 and Sara McGlashan 31.
However, Australia kept the game in the balance with wickets, Clea Smith eventually returning three for 23 and despite Liz Perry's valiant unbeaten 33 in 22 balls, and Nicola Browne's 20 in 16, the White Ferns just came up short, Lisa Sthalekar, Nitschke and Rene Farrell all taking a wicket apiece.
New Zealand needed seven to win from the final over but were thwarted by Smith, who removed Browne and conceded just three runs.
"That was our highest score in any Twenty20 match so we were very pleased with that," Australia captain Blackwell said.
"We thought a par score on this ground would be 140, so it was fantastic to exceed our expectations. Our bowling was also good especially in the first six overs where we were able to get some early wickets.
"We knew they would hit back as they have several clean hitters down the order who had the ability to get the runs."
The two sides now play three One-Day Internationals in Lincoln on 24th, 26th and 28th February.
© Cricket World 2011