Australia shut down NZ for thrilling trophy win
Australia's women staged a dramatic comeback to go one better than the men after holding their nerve in a low-scoring final
Australia 106 for 8 (Poulton 20, Browne 2-11) beat New Zealand 103 for 6 (Devine 38*, Perry 3-18) by 3 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Australia's women staged a dramatic comeback to go one better than the men after holding their nerve in a low-scoring final in Barbados. New Zealand deserved to be confident after restricting Australia to 106 for 8, but they could not deal with the suffocating pressure and fell four runs short to suffer their third loss in a row in a global final.
Alex Blackwell's side captured the early wickets they desperately needed and when Ellyse Perry struck twice in two overs New Zealand were a horrible 29 for 4. Perry, the fast bowler, added another late in the game and delivered a cool final over, allowing 10 when 14 were required. She finished with a highly impressive 3 for 18 and the player of the match prize, while the result ended Australia's six-match losing streak to Aimee Watkins' team in this format.
Australia added the trophy to their five global 50-over prizes and succeeded in front of the men's squad, which was beaten by England earlier in the afternoon. Michael Clarke, David Warner and Mitchell Johnson were among those to stay and watch the women, and the performance helped lift the mood of the green-and-gold supporters.
Suzie Bates pulled the first ball of the chase for two and launched a six over long-on in an effort to settle the nerves, but Watkins was an early casualty. She fell to a superb leaping catch from Alex Blackwell after pulling to midwicket and Blackwell was also responsible for running out the powerful Sara McGlashan for 1.
Australia started to believe when Bates (18) tried to hoick Perry down the ground and was caught by Sarah Elliott running around from mid-off. Perry followed up by knocking out Amy Satterthwaite's off stump and Australia were suddenly the ones firmly on top.
The spin of Shelley Nitschke (1 for 10 off four) and Lisa Sthalekar (0 for 19) added to the problems and at the half-way stage of the pursuit the batsmen were struggling to score at three an over. There was briefly an even greater concern for New Zealand when Rachel Priest was given out stumped, but the third umpire Asad Rauf had pressed the wrong button and "not out" quickly re-appeared on the big screen. Priest's reprieve was short-lived and she departed after hitting out at Nitschke and an easy catch ballooned to Blackwell.
Sophie Devine, who was unbeaten on 38 off 35, held firm and gained a helpful partner in Nicola Browne as they kept New Zealand in with a chance. However, even they were limited once they got settled and struggled to find the boundary or rotate the strike.
Browne (20) became Perry's third wicket with an edge behind while Devine hoped for some late intervention. Devine hit a four and a six off Rene Farrell's penultimate over to leave them wanting 14 from the last six balls.
Perry grabbed the ball and gave up a single off the first one before Devine got four consecutive twos. Devine required five off the last offering to win and she struck strongly straight but Perry, a talented footballer, stuck out her boot to deflect the ball to mid-on and New Zealand finished on 103 for 6. The Australians screamed in their huddle and their male counterparts applauded proudly.
It was a sad end to the event for New Zealand, who lost the 50-over World Cup and World Twenty20 finals last year. From the moment Browne gained two wickets in her opening spell, leaving Australia 20 for 3, New Zealand seemed destined for victory. Browne starred while taking 2 for 11 in four consecutive overs as she enjoyed the extra pace on offer while Devine collected 2 for 21.
Brown forced the opener Elyse Villani (6) to miscue a drive to cover for her first breakthrough. Another key wicket came with Blackwell's exit for 0 after she cut a rising ball to Devine, who took a sharp catch in the gully.
Not only did New Zealand's attack keep taking wickets, but they also restricted the runs, just as Australia's bowers did when it was their turn. The situation was so bad that Australia actually did well to reach three figures and a match-winning score. Sarah Elliott, who was unbeaten on 19, and Sthalekar (18 off 13) provided the much-needed boost at the end of the innings with a crucial stand of 27.
Leah Poulton, the No.3, tried to rebuild initially, putting on 30 with Jess Cameron, but the batsmen could not escape and found only four boundaries. In the reply New Zealand managed two fours and two sixes.
Poulton went to a catch at cover off Devine for 20 off 28 balls, while Cameron was bowled by Kate Broadmore's opening effort for 14 off 24. That dismissal left them at 51 for 5 and there were further problems when Alyssa Healy (10) was run-out chasing a two after McGlashan had dropped her at square leg.
The innings ended with a stunning one-handed catch by Watkins, who leapt high at cover to remove Farrell and stop a boundary. New Zealand had all the momentum at that point and Australia were left seeking a miracle in the field. They delivered it in wonderful style to end a mixed afternoon for their country on a high.
Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo