Villani, Wellington help Australia take 1-0 lead

Australia Women 4 for 151 (Villani 73*, Lanning 60) beat New Zealand Women 8 for 111 (Satterthwaite 40*, Wellington 3-15) by 40 runs

A firecracker of an innings from Elyse Villani set the Australia on the path to a comfortable victory over New Zealandin the opening match of their T20I series at the MCG.

Villani's 73 from a mere 47 deliveries powered the hosts to 151 from their allotted 20 overs, largely in partnership with the captain and reigning Belinda Clark medallist Meg Lanning.

New Zealand struggled in response, never threatening to match the required run rate while losing regular wickets. The absence of Ellyse Perry, Australia's star allrounder, was no great handicap to Lanning's side, with the young legspinner Amanda-Jade Wellington stepping up admirably with three wickets.

The visiting captain Suzie Bates had chosen to send the Australians in to bat upon winning the toss, and the early wickets of Beth Mooney and the debutant Ashleigh Gardner - run out after facing just a single ball - handed the early momentum to the tourists.

However Lanning's composure was important in settling the innings down, avoiding further wickets while building a stand with Villani. So effectively did the pair accelerate that Australia were able to pile up no fewer than 97 runs from their final 11 overs, having been a relatively sedate 2 for 54 after nine overs.

New Zealand's reply began serviceably enough, but from the moment Rachel Priest offered a catch to Lanning off the bowling of Molly Strano they were always pushing up hill. The loss of Bates in the 11th over was a critical blow, and Amy Satterthwaite's determined rearguard served mainly to reduce the margin of defeat.

The second T20I takes place at Geelong's Kardinia Park on Sunday.