Australia’s bowlers almost turned the game around but New Zealand’s lower order came through
Beth Mooney believed Australia’s bowlers could close out the second T20I in Napier, but conceded the visitors had been under par with the bat on a surface where they were not able to significantly accelerate.
Despite only having 129 on the board, Australia had squeezed the chase after the fall of Frankie Mackay to the extent that New Zealand needed 21 off the last two overs which they were able to achieve through Maddy Green and Hannah Rowe, the last ball being edged to fine leg.
“I’d back our bowlers to defend 21 off 12, but Hannah Rowe and Maddy Green were outstanding,” Mooney said. “When you need three of the last ball, it can go anywhere.”
Australia’s innings included nine fours and a six, while the home side managed 13 fours and two sixes. Mooney batted through the first innings for 61* off 54 balls, but Rachael Haynes scored 11 off her first 16 deliveries before lifting herself above a run-a-ball.
Throughout the third wicket stand of 49, Ash Gardner, who struck a superb 73 off 48 balls in the first T20I in Hamilton, was sat in the dugout and eventually walked in with a just ten balls remaining, but Mooney said the team had faith in all their batters to perform in any situation.
“They were tricky conditions and it was really hard to start on,” she said. “Even someone like me, I was out there the whole game and never felt I could get the ball out of the middle. New Zealand bowled really well, had some great plans so credit has to go to the way they played. Thought they were an outstanding fielding outfit today, too.
“Anyone in our batting line-up can bat anywhere. Rach Haynes has done really well in the middle order for our team and been going beautifully. [We] would never question the decisions the coaching staff make because at the time it’s the right one.
“You look at the top six in our team we have some of the best batters in the world so we have batters who can play any role in any situation on any given day. Whilst it might seem from the outside that we don’t try too much or change too much within our group we are really confident and supportive of each other. We were probably 10 or 15 runs short. Whether Ash came in earlier or not, who knows, but it was definitely a really hard wicket to start on considering how tight they were bowling.”
The victory was more notable for New Zealand as they achieved it without captain Sophie Devine, who was ill. It meant a reshuffling of the batting order with Mackay, who may have been left out due to a calf niggle which was then exacerbated while opening the batting during the New Zealand innings.
Despite not being able to secure victory in Hamilton after reducing Australia to 14 for 3, stand-in captain Amy Satterthwaite said the performance had lifted the team’s confidence after the difficult time against England.
“Really proud of the way everyone stood up,” she said. “The belief in what we were doing was getting bigger and bigger, the last game probably gave us more belief than people probably realised in the way we carried ourselves. It was a step forward of where we’d been against England. Today we talked about lifting that again. Thought the fielding had been setting the tone we were outstanding again. That lifted everyone and the bowlers were all brilliant.”