The White Ferns have capped off their build up for the ICC 2013 Women’s One Day World Cup with a historic Twenty20 series victory in Australia.
Heading into the final match of the three game Women’s Twenty20 International Series, the teams were locked at one-all after the two sides split the opening fixtures in a double-header on Tuesday.
A superb bowling performance had the Australians on the back foot soon after the Ferns won the toss and elected to take the ball in blistering conditions at Melbourne's Junction Oval. They was led by 22-year-old Morna Nielsen, who took one for nine off her four overs at the front of the innings and picked up the cheap wicket of Alyssa Healy (niece of former Australian wicketkeeper Ian Healy) in her second over. But it was Nielsen's searing economy rate that heaped the pressure on the hosts, who eventually struggled to a light total of 134/for five.
The Australian innings was built chiefly around strokemaker Jess Cameron, who had replaced Healy at the wicket and immediately went after Sian Ruck, since Neilsen was proving such an immutable force from the other end. The tally climbed to 61 for two by the midway mark of the innings, but Cameron fell to the rising pressure to up the scoring rate - falling just shy of a half-century when she was stumped off Lucy Doolan by the barest of margins for the team’s top score of 48 off 36.
It was the knockout punch from the Ferns, with even the experience of Lisa Sthalekar (24* off 18) unable to push the total to par for the ground.
Chasing an RPO of just over six for victory, Doolan (35 off 40) and skipper Suzie Bates (67 off 44) then poured on a 101-run opening stand to rub salt into Australia's wounds, the White Ferns cruising to their emphatic, seven-wicket victory with two overs to spare.
Both sides now travel to India for the World Cup, which begins January 31.