Australia clinch one-wicket thriller
Australia Women 9 for 176 (Sthalekar 53) beat New Zealand Women 175 (Rolls 66) by one wicket
Karen Rolton, the Australia captain, and Clea Smith added 24 for the final wicket to win a penultimate-ball thriller against New Zealand in Brisbane and go 2-0 up in the five-match series. Set 176 to win after a comprehensive bowling effort, Australia coughed and spluttered around Lisa Sthalekar's 53, but the last-wicket pairing held their nerve to take them home.
In the face of a relatively small total Australia lost their openers, Melissa Bulow and Leah Poulton, inside nine overs. Sthalekar dug her heels in to carry most of the innings, and record a second consecutive fifty, but New Zealand's bowlers chipped in at regular intervals to keep the game close. Louise Milliken's right-arm medium pace accounted for three wickets, but it was Helen Watson and the offspin pairing of Aimee Mason and Anna Dodd that kept the pressure on with economical spells.
Sarah Andrews's run-out in the 43rd over brought Smith to the middle with 22 required. She and Rolton carried on with the rearguard effort and the scores were tied in the penultimate over when Rolton got a four. Australia had to face four more nerve-wracking balls before Smith pinched a single from Sophie Devine to seal the win.
Put in to bat by Rolton, New Zealand were given a flying start by Rebecca Rolls, the captain, and Maria Fahey (29), who added 78 in under 12 overs. Rolls was the aggressor, slamming 66 from 54 deliveries, but the medium pace duo of Julie Hayes (3 for 37) and Andrews (2 for 32), and a couple of run-outs, applied the skids as New Zealand's middle order choked.
Rolton, who twisted her left knee while fielding, will undergo a knee scan tomorrow.