Devine intervention gets New Zealand home
New Zealand 7 for 117 (Watkins 44, Devine 34) beat Australia 7 for 115 (Nitschke 46) by 2 runs
A stunning one-handed catch from the wicketkeeper Rachel Priest delivered New Zealand's first win of the tour in a tense finish to the first Twenty20. Australia needed three for victory and Alyssa Healy's thick edge off Nicola Browne could easily have run away for four but was snapped up by the diving Priest to confirm the two-run win.
The Australians made hard work of their chase of 118 and Shelley Nitschke was the key, anchoring the innings with 46 from 47 balls. However, when she skied a catch to mid-on off Aimee Watkins with 29 still required, the match turned in New Zealand's favour.
Sophie Devine added to Australia's troubles when she had Lisa Sthalekar caught at deep midwicket and it was one of two breakthroughs for Devine, who also effected a sharp run-out from backward point to remove Lauren Ebsary. In the end Australia required 11 from Browne's final over but it was just out of reach.
The last ball continued a frustrating debut for Healy, who dropped the New Zealand captain Watkins from the first ball of the game. It allowed Watkins to guide the visitors with a 39-ball 44 and only a brilliant piece of fielding removed her, when Ellyse Perry ran backwards towards the boundary and snared a catch while avoiding giving away six when her ponytail nearly touched the rope.
After Watkins departed, Devine took charge and struck three fours and a six in her 35 from 34 deliveries. It was a valuable innings that helped New Zealand get to 7 for 117, a total that looked like being a little short but proved enough thanks to tight bowling and committed fielding from New Zealand.