One Win Apiece For Australia And New Zealand
New Zealand Women 152-4 (Bates 42) beat
Australia Women 151-7 by six wickets
First Twenty20 International, St Kilda
Australia Women 135-5 (Lanning 64) beat
New Zealand Women 132-6 by five wickets
Second Twenty20 International, St Kilda
St Kilda was treated to a double helping of women's Twenty20 International cricket and with Australia and New Zealand winning a game apiece, Thursday's finale will now be a series decider.
New Zealand struck first by winning the opening game by six wickets, Suzie Bates leading the way - as she does so often - in an impressive run chase having been set 152 to win. New Zealand batted first in the second game but could only score 132, which proved well within Australia's reach.
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Australia did well to reach 151 for seven in the opening game given that only three players reached double figures. Their innings was built around Meg Lanning's 76 in 56 balls before she finally found some support from Alex Blackwell, who struck 29 in 26.
Captain Jodie Fields then made 17 not out in 16 deliveries to take her side past the 150-run mark, Morna Nielsen returning two for 25 and Frances Mackay two for 28 for the White Ferns.
After Lucy Doolan (1) and Amy Satterthwaite (8) fell early, Bates and Sophie Devine revived New Zealand's innings with a 67-run partnership for the third wicket.
Bates' 42 came off 38 balls while Devine hammered 39 in 29 with five fours and a six. Ellyse Perry added to her earlier wicket of Doolan to have Bates caught and Renee Chappell's maiden international wicket came when she had Devine caught by Lanning.
However, New Zealand were not to be outdone and thanks to Mackay's unbeaten 25 and Nicola Browne's 34 not out in 17 balls, they got home with two balls to spare.
The second game followed a similar pattern in reverse albeit with fewer runs on the board. New Zealand's top order made an excellent start with the runs flowing from Bates (32), Mackay (20), Satterthwaite (44) and Browne (26) but then they were unable to kick on.
They lost three wickets for five runs and never recovered as Megan Schutt picked up two for 20 and there was a wicket apiece for Perry, Erin Osborne and Lisa Sthalekar.
Lanning then followed up her half-century in game one with a second quality effort, this time striking 64 in 56 balls to make light of another poor performance from the other top-order players.
Rachel Haynes (3) and Jess Cameron (7) fell cheaply before scores of 18 from Blackwell and Sthalekar got Australia back on track. Sian Ruck (2-17) led New Zealand's fight back with the ball but they were beaten in the end as Fields (14 not out) and Sarah Coyte (9 not out) completed the run chase with a ball to spare.
© Cricket World 2013
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