The White Ferns suffered their first loss of the ICC Women’s World Cup in India, after losing by seven wickets to the Australia Southern Stars in their Group B match at Driems Ground, Cuttack.
A brilliant fight back led by Suzie bates saw the White Ferns finish with a first-innings total of 227 for six. Captain Bates was inspirational with a classy 102 off 134 balls to make sure her side had something to bowl at.
As good as her knock was though, it would be comfortably accounted for by the Southern Stars, as Meg Lanning responded with 112 to help her side complete the pursuit after 38.2 overs.
The wicket of Rachael Haynes for five early on had the White Ferns get off to a great start with the ball, but unfortunately they were able to maintain the momentum, as Lanning and Jess Cameron put on a devastating 182 run partnership for the second wicket.
The pair repelled all that was thrown at them and together effectively ensured Australia the victory.
The White Ferns found the slightest glimmer of hope when they captured both Cameron (82) and Lanning in quick succession, but by that time the Stars only needed another 15 to win and Alex Blackwell (14*) and Lisa Sthalekar (8*) gleefully finished the task.
Overall it was a disappointing performance with the ball from the White Ferns, but there were bright aspects, such as Lea Tahuhu bowling her full complement for just 38 runs, including the wicket of Haynes.
Earlier, the White Ferns had battled hard to build a total over 200 after they had been rocked by the fall of four cheap wickets at the start of their innings.
Megan Schutt tore through the top-order with three cheap wickets, while Julie Hunter inflicted further damage with the dismissal of Sara McGlashan for one.
Bates though remained steady and alongside Katie Perkins began to rebuild. It was a far more subdued innings than what we’re used to seeing from Bates in the past, but it was exactly what was necessary to help get her side out of trouble.
She found support in Perkins (41) and Nicola Browne (39*) and reached her fourth One-Day International century in the 48th over. Despite not being a match winning performance, it confirmed her as one of the best batsmen in the world.
It was a respectable total by the White Ferns in the end, but the slow start hurt them and Australia took full advantage.