New Zealand Women 128-8 (Perkins 31) beat
Australia Women 121 (Blackwell 31) by 7 runs
ICC Women's World T20 2014 Group A, Sylhet
New Zealand beat reigning champions Australia by seven runs in the opening game of the ICC Women's World Twenty20 in Bangladesh.
The White Ferns looked to be struggling during their innings before reaching 128 for eight, Nicola Browne hitting 29 and Katie Perkins 31.
Browne then took a wicket, and after Australia slumped to 14 for three, they launched a strong comeback, only to eventually be bowled out for 121 in 19.3 overs.
New Zealand's final warm-up game had seen them dismissed for just 48 by England and they made a poor start here, losing experienced pair Suzie Bates (5) and Sara McGlashan (15) in the first five overs.
Frances Mackay then became the third player to be trapped in front when she fell to Sarah Coyte for 25, Rachel Priest was caught by Jess Cameron off Rene Farrell and Perkins, who faced 36 balls, was also trapped in front, by Farrel as New Zealand reached 89 for five in 16.2 overs.
Vital late runs were then added by Browne, whose 29 came from 19 balls, including three fours and the only six of the innings, and Katey Martin, who struck 15 in 11 balls.
Jess Jonassen finished with two for 22 with the wickets of Bates and Priest and Coyte took two for eight while Alex Blackwell ran out Martin and Maddie Green (1) late on.
If New Zealand's start was bad, then Australia's was dreadful, but perhaps unsurprising, given the poor form their top order has been in coming in to this competition.
Elyse Villani was bowled by Holly Huddleston for one, Meg Lanning was caught by Mackay off Huddleston for two and Jess Cameron failed to score before offering Browne a catch off Hayley Jensen, Australia crashing to 14 for three.
Alyssa Healy led the recovery with a run-a-ball 41 and put on 45 with Blackwell, who made 31, for the fourth wicket.
Bates trapped Healy in front and Ellyse Perry made a quickfire 14 in 12 only to be run out by McGlashan as Australia found themselves under pressure.
Jonassen made just three and the key wicket of Blackwell came in the 18th over with the score on 102, when she was also run out, by Martin.
Erin Osborne hit out to try to get Australia back into the match, striking 14 not out in 11 balls, but New Zealand closed out the game by taking the wickets of Coyte (9), Farrell (2) and Holly Ferling (0), the latter two coming in the final over bowled by Mackay.
Huddleston finished with figures of two for 23 and the other five bowlers used - Morna Nielsen, Jensen, Mackay, Bates and Browne took one apiece.
The two sides will now both face Ireland, Pakistan and South Africa as they attempt to reach the semi-finals.
© Cricket World 2014