The White Ferns have snatched a dramatic one-run victory in their opening One Day International match against the West Indies at Sabina Park in Kingston.
Having won the toss and opted to bat, Suzie Bates (114) constructed a well-made century to give the White Ferns a total of 225 for eight. In reply, the West Indies looked to be cruising at 212 for six and needed just 14 runs from 30 balls. A late flurry of wickets allowed the White Ferns back into the match, before claiming the final dismissal in the last over to claim a sensational victory.
The West Indies pursuit had looked on track for much of the innings, with the dangerous duo of Stefanie Taylor (38) and Deandra Dottin (65) taking their side through to 105 for three.
Lea Tahuhu’s dismissal of Taylor saw captain Merissa Aguilleira (43) come to the crease and along with Dottin she took control of the game. At 197 for five from 41 overs the result looked all but certain to be in favour of the home side, but a late rally from the White Ferns bowling unit, led by Nicola Browne with three key wickets, kept things alive.
The game finished in drama, with Shaquana Qunityne run-out after backing up too far. Browne led the wickets column, while Morna Nielsen was the most economical with figures of two for 22 from 10 overs.
Earlier, the White Ferns opening pair of Bates and Nat Dodd (18) made steady progress to reach 50 without loss after 15 overs. The visitors coninued to keep wickets in hand, with Bates building a strong platform to launch from.
In the 43rd over the 25-year-old brought up her fifth ODI ton off 114 balls. Currently ranked the number one ODI batsman in the world, Bates now has an average of 74.43 in 2013 and has had only one score under 30 since 3 March 2012.
Sophie Devine (34) alongside her skipper took the White Ferns to 210 for two with three overs remaining. Unfortunately a string of late wickets, including that of Bates who was run-out, stemmed the White Ferns run-rate and they finished the 50 overs unconvinvingly.
The two sides meet again on Wednesday at 3am New Zealand time for the second of three ODIs.