Smith, Poulton ease Australia to win
Australia Women 182 for 4 (Poulton 54, Nitschke 48) beat New Zealand Women 181 (Mackay 36, Smith 4-32) by six wickets
Australia Women eased to a six-wicket win over New Zealand Women with 18.3 overs to spare in the second encounter of the reconvened Rose Bowl series in Brisbane. The eight-match limited-overs series, which was called off mid-way following the Christchurch earthquake in February, now stands at 3-2 in favour of Australia. With just one game left to play New Zealand can, at most, draw the series, meaning Australia - who currently hold the trophy - have retained the Rose Bowl title.
Choosing to field, Australia rocked the visitors early, with Clea Smith claiming Lucy Doolan and Suzie Bates for ducks. Debutant opener Frances Mackay was patient to the point of being overcautious in her knock of 36 from 77 balls, but turned out to be New Zealand's top-scorer, as Australia knocked wickets over at regular wickets. Smith snagged two more, to finish with 4 for 32, while offspinner Lisa Sthalekar troubled the lower-middle order with figures of 3 for 37.
Chasing 182, Australia lost Meg Lanning cheaply. A 106-run stand between Player-of-the-Match Shelley Nitschke (she had earlier claimed two wickets at a miserly economy rate of 2.40 in her ten) and Leah Poulton followed, almost sealing the match. The hosts suffered a hiccup, losing three wickets on 122, but Jess Cameron counterattacked with 37 off 29, to see Australia home comfortably.
Australia captain Jodie Fields her team showed positive intent from the outset. "We wanted to play some smart, positive cricket," she said. "The plan was to get out on the field early and to get rid of some of those nerves and cobwebs, and I think we showed our intent right from the start.
"The wicket was slightly slow but the outfield was probably quicker than we thought it was going to be."
New Zealand coach Gary Stead was brutal in the assessment of his team's performance. "We just didn't put in a performance in any of the three facets of the game," Stead said. "We were certainly outplayed in all areas so lots to work on for the next game.
"It's pretty frustrating when you see the batsmen looking so good and then just doing some really silly things at times. We weren't positive enough with the bat to take the game to the bowlers a little bit more."
The final game is on June 16 at the same venue.