Lanning, Haynes star as Australia take series lead against NZ
Australia women 4 for 164 (Haynes 69*, Lanning 56*, Kasperek 2-28) beat New Zealand women 5 for 162 (Martin 56*, Devine 43, Gardner 2-22) by six wickets
Australia's captain Meg Lanning and her leadership understudy Rachael Haynes took command of a steep chase to fire the hosts to victory over New Zealand in the opening Twenty20 international, in front of an enthusiastic North Sydney Oval crowd and a prime time television audience on the new free-to-air broadcaster, Seven.
This match was the first televised international on Australian soil not broadcast by Channel Nine in almost 40 years, signalling the start of a new era for the game in Australia, and Lanning and Haynes ensured that it would be marked with a winning result for the home side. Katey Martin and Sophie Devine had led New Zealand to 162, a total that had not appeared likely when the tourists were 5 for 120 with fewer than four overs remaining.
However Martin's clean hitting, with help from Bernadine Bezuidenhout, presented the Australians with a more challenging task, and early wickets in the pursuit did not aid their cause. Alyssa Healy and Elyse Villani fell in the space of a single Devine over, while Beth Mooney and Ashleigh Gardner also fell swiftly. At 4 for 45, New Zealand appeared very much the more likely winner.
But Australia's women have never lost a T20 international at North Sydney, and Lanning's team consider the ground their most valued home advantage. A fierce intent to protect that record was write large across the partnership that subsequently developed between Lanning, who missed last year's Ashes series due to shoulder surgery, and Haynes, who had successfully deputised for the captain.
It was actually Haynes who played the more dominant role in the stand, unusually given Lanning's pre-eminence as a power hitter and stroke maker in the women's game. This dynamic flummoxed New Zealand and their captain Amy Satterthwaite, who was unable to summon any bowling combination to limit the Australian pair.
Having initially allowed the required run rate to drift out, Haynes and Lanning reeled it in steadily, before ultimately cruising past the total with 14 balls to spare with a flurry of boundaries towards the end of the chase. Devine's 2 for 31 was the only analysis that sufficiently contained the Australians, with victory arriving as the stand swelled to an unbeaten 119 for the fifth wicket - Australia's star allrounder Ellyse Perry was not even required to bat.
She had bowled with notable economy in New Zealand's innings, a trait also shared by the spell of Sophie Molineux. While Martin and Devine were able to find the boundary regularly against the rest of the Australian attack, they were unable to climb high enough to prevent Lanning's collective from preserving their proud North Sydney record as a new era began.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig