New Zealand WHITE FERNS captain Suzie Bates today scored her seventh ODI century in pursuit of the coveted Rose Bowl in Mount Maunganui, in the final One-Day International of the New Zealand 2015/16 season.
However, a slamming return serve from Australian captain Meg Lanning — who scored a perfectly paced second match-winning hundred in as many games at Bay Oval — saw world number one Australia maintain its 17-year grip on the trophy, while Lanning went two on the bounce as player of the match.
It was a nailbiting finish to a closely contested trans-Tasman contest, Lanning producing a clutch performance to ensure that Australia came back from a 0-1 deficit to take the Rose Bowl One-Day Internationals 2-1.
The WHITE FERNS will now look to reverse their fortunes in the three-match Twenty20 series. The Twenty20s begin at the Basin Reserve on Sunday, in the WHITE FERNS v Australia / Island of Origin doubleheader.
Sent in after Australia called correctly for the third game in succession, the WHITE FERNS put 243 for five on the board, their best batting performance of the series, led by their skipper's 110 off 133 balls.
Despite losing Rachel Priest early on, Bates had found solid support from Amy Satterthwaite (44 off 70) and Sara McGlashan (46 off 58).
With ball in hand, the WHITE FERNS then began the defence well by making early breakthroughs with the wickets of both Australian openers, Nicole Bolton caught for no score, and Beth Mooney who was bowled by Sophie Devine on 16.
But from 34/2 it became a case of déja vu as Ellyse Perry and Lanning steadied the ship, patiently seeing off good pressure from pace bowler Lea Tahuhu.
When Perry fell in the 27th over to a brilliant, one-handed Leigh Kasperek caught and bowled, Alex Blackwell simply took over as Lanning's support act.
111/2... Australia's Perry & Lanning have just made 1, 1, 1 ... and here's Perry's wicket. Coincidence? We think not. 👌 111/3 #WFvAUS— WHITE FERNS (@WHITE_FERNS) February 24, 2016
As Australia looked to keep touch with the slightly better than run-a-ball pace required, Blackwell's unbeaten half century ultimately helped propel Australia to a six-wicket win, with just eight balls to spare, after Lanning fell just one ball before the victory was secured with a boundary in the 49th over.
It was the first time both captains had scored an ODI ton in a trans-Tasman match.