New Zealand open with tight Twenty20 win

New Zealand 81 for 6 beat Australia 80 for 9 by four wickets

After going down 3-1 to England, New Zealand were back to winning ways in a confidence-boosting Twenty20 win against their close rivals, Australia. In a low-scoring match in cool conditions, they overhauled Australia's 80 for 9 in the 18th over with captain Haidee Tiffen (15*) and Amy Satterthwaite (9*) guiding the home team to victory.

Shelley Nitchske fell on the second ball after Australia were sent in, and they were in a heap at 53 for 6, including the cheap wicket of Karen Rolton, coming off a club century for Port Adelaide. Sarah Burke was the pick with 3 for 15.

Four wickets at the start of New Zealand's chase briefly halted the home team's flow and then Nitschke claimed the vital wicket of Sara McGlashan (25) to have the White Ferns struggling at 50 for 5.

Next over Lisa Sthalekar took a wicket to sink them further, but Tiffen and Satterthwaite added the required 23 runs to ensure New Zealand's first Twenty20 international victory against Australia.

Rolton offered no excuses. "The conditions were good. We just didn't score enough runs. We were going to bat first anyway and were looking at around 150, so we were a little disappointed. The New Zealand girls bowled really well, they bowled good lines and kept the pace off the ball and made it difficult for us to score freely.

"There are still plenty of positives to take out of the match and the batting will need to improve. I thought we bowled and fielded really well, held all our catches and bowled with good consistency. Our batters just tended to hit the ball at one pace straight to the fielders a bit too often, but with a bit of work in the lead-up to the next match that can easily be fixed."

The Rose Bowl Series starts on Saturday with the first of five one-day internationals. All matches will be played at Bert Sutcliffe Oval in Lincoln, Christchurch.