Poulton, Cameron guide Australia to finals
Australia 147 for 4 (Poulton 61, Cameron 47, Bates 2-17) beat New Zealand 146 for 6 (Perry 50*, Sthalekar 2-33) by six wickets
Leah Poulton and Jess Cameron powered Australia into the finals of the NatWest Women's T20 Quadrangular Series, their 82-run partnership for the second wicket setting up a six-wicket win after New Zealand had set a competitive 146 for 6. Cameron fell just short of her fifty but Poulton batted on, adding a further 47 with Shelley Nitschke and reaching 61 before she was dismissed with victory in sight.
Medium pacer Lea Tahuhu appeared to give her team a chance when she bowled Meg Lanning for single figures, but Poulton and Cameron's partnership helped put Australia on top. Bates threatened to spark a late fightback, trapping Cameron and Alex Blackwell in front of their stumps with consecutive deliveries to put herself on a hat-trick, but Poulton and Nitschke locked the game down with their aggressive batting.
New Zealand had got off to a similarly enterprising start with the bat after Aimee Watkins had won the toss and opted to set a target, Watkins herself leading the way with a 22-ball 29 that included four fours and a six.
She put on an opening stand of 52 with Bates before a flurry of wickets dented the middle order, and New Zealand were thankful for the in-form Liz Perry's unbeaten fifty, which ensured they set a defendable total. That was not to be, however, and Australia will now meet a rampant England in the tournament final at the Rose Bowl on Monday.
"The ground had a fast outfield and the wicket was good," said Watkins. "We thought that we had enough. But obviously it wasn't. I think it was a par score on that pitch. But Australia took the opportunities that came their way and put away the bad balls. They chased down the target well."
Watkins also praised Perry for her second successive knock under pressure. "It was a good back-up performance from Liz. She came up with another good performance for us today. I hope that continues tomorrow in the play-off and then onto the 50-over competition."
"It was a good ground to chase down scores," said Player of the Match Poulton. "The pitch was good for batting. The target was gettable. We had some clear plans on how many runs need to be scored in every period of the match. I am glad the plans we had came good as we reached all targets set for the game."
Poulton recalled a similar chase against England at the same ground previously and said the batting derived confidence from that match. "We had played England here and chased down 150 then. So we knew that 146 was a gettable target. We thought 140 to 150 was a par score and Kiwis did well in getting there. But we were always confident going into the chase.
"Jess and I had a good partnership. She was striking the ball well and I quite liked to play second fiddle. We have batting all the way down, it was nice to be able to play my game. It was good to have a win in the lead-up to the final. We are confident about our chances. We have played England quite often and know what to expect of them. They are also a good, strong unit and as confident as us. So it will be a good contest."