White Ferns 128-8 (Katie Perkins 31, Nicola Browne 29, Sarah Coyte 2-8) beat the Australia Women 121 all out after 19.3 overs (Alyssa Healy 41, Alex Blackwell 31, Holly Huddleston 2-23) by 7 runs
The White Ferns have taken a massive step towards reaching the semi-finals of the ICC World Twenty20 after beating Australia by seven runs in their opening match at Sylhet Divisional Stadium in Bangladesh.
The kiwi side beat the defending champions after posting 128 for eight In the first innings, with Katie Perkins top-scoring with 31. They then took wickets at key moments, overcoming 41 from Alyssa Healy and bowling out Australia with three balls left in the innings. The White Ferns now need to win at least two of their three remaining pool matches against Ireland, Pakistan and South Africa to progress to the semi-finals.
Having been asked to bat first the White Ferns were put under pressure early, with captain Suzie Bates dismissed for just five. Cameos from Frances Mackay (25) and Sara McGlashan (15) settled things down nicely, before Perkins came in and anchored the innings through to the 17th over.
The finishing touches were added by Nicola Browne, who crunched a crucial 29 from 19 balls to elevate the White Ferns past the 120 mark. Her Player of the Match effort was highlighted by three fours and a six and gave her side a competitive total to defend.
Momentum swung throughout Australia’s response, but it was the loss of regular wickets which would be their downfall.
The White Ferns were buoyed by the early dismissal of the dangerous Meg Lanning for two, but a run-a-ball 41 from Healy kept Australia on track early.
Following Healy’s dismissal in the 11th over, Alex Blackwell (31) took the reins for her side, seeing them through to 105 for six at the start of the 17th over. Her dismissal two balls later, via a run-out from Katey Martin, was the turning point though, with the White Ferns restricting the tail and claiming the victory three balls into the final over.
It was a joint effort with the ball for the White Ferns, with Holly Huddleston finishing with two for 23, while the other five bowlers all took a wicket apiece.
The White Ferns play their next match against Ireland tomorrow night from 10.30pm (NZ time).