Blackwell, Mooney fifties level series

Australia women 256 for 6 (Blackwell 65, Mooney 57, Kerr 4-54) beat New Zealand women 253 for 8 (Satterthwaite 85, Martin 43, Wellington 3-52) by four wickets

Alex Blackwell struck a timely 65 to help Australia recover from a middle-order slide and chase down 254 against New Zealand in the second women's ODI in Mount Maunganui. Blackwell's knock followed on from Beth Mooney's 57 at the top as Australia made 256 for 6 to win by four wickets and level the three-match series.

Mooney helped Australia recover from the early loss of Nicole Bolton for 17 in the seventh over. She added 87 for the second wicket with her captain Meg Lanning. However, the introduction of 16-year old legspinner Amelia Kerr dented Australia's chase. Kerr struck twice in her first over, the 21st of the innings, bowling Lanning for 44 and Elyse Villani for a first-ball duck. Mooney fell in the same fashion six overs later, as Australia slid from 109 for 1 to 138 for 4.

But Alyssa Healy and Blackwell made sure the runs kept flowing and shared a fifth-wicket partnership of 81 off 85 balls. Blackwell, in her first game back from a hamstring injury, walked out to face the hat-trick ball, but managed to get off the mark straight away. "It's never nice to face a hat-trick ball. I was just thinking about playing as straight as possible," she said. "It was a bonus to score off the first ball, that settled me. I would have liked to finish not out."

Healy became Kerr's fourth victim when she was caught and bowled in the 41st over for 36. Blackwell was caught behind with Australia 17 away from the target. Jess Jonassen and Ashleigh Gardner ensured her effort wasn't in vain as they knocked off the remaining runs with 16 balls to spare.

"We know it's a really good wicket here and the outfield is exceptional, so 250 wasn't something we were too concerned about," Blackwell said. "I think we can continue to improve with the ball as well, but today was a much better effort."

Suzie Bates, the New Zealand captain, felt lapses in the field cost them. "I don't think we fielded well today, it was probably our worst fielding performance this series," she said.

Bates showered praise on Kerr, who finished with 4 for 54 runs in 10 overs. "I probably left her a little bit late. For a 16-year old, you would think she'd be under pressure, but there is no such thing as pressure to her, she just wants to bowl. She knows her game and the game of cricket really well. She knows exactly what she wants to do and has pretty good control. She is going to be a massive star for us and she was a key bowler for us today."

Kerr, who dismissed Lanning with a googly, especially cherished that wicket. "She's one of the best players in the world, and to get her with a googly is wow, it's something I have been working on a lot," she said. "The bowling coach told me to bowl the googly to Lanning, and luckily, it worked. And she is tough to bowl to, so I was glad I didn't need to bowl to her for too long."

When New Zealand batted, after being asked to, Bates dominated the early going, and made 35 of the 55 runs her team had scored at the time of the dismissal. Amy Satterthwaite and Katey Martin joined hands for a third-wicket stand of 87. Once the association was ended, with the dismissal of Martin, the onus on building the innings fell on Satterthwaite. Perkins chipped in with 38 and helped Satterthwaite add 63 for the fifth wicket that pushed the score past 200.

Satterthwaite hung on till the 47th over. She made 85 off 117 balls, falling 15 short of what would have been her fifth consecutive ODI century. New Zealand stumbled towards the end, losing two more wickets after her dismissal to finish with 253 for 8. Amanda-Jade Wellington took three wickets for Australia, but Perry, who opened the bowling, stood out in her short spell, finishing with 1 for 9 in four overs.