NZ women trump Australia with all-round show

On the back of an effective bowling performance led by spinners, New Zealand women defeated Australia by six wickets in the Women's World Twenty20 match in Nagpur.

Leigh Kasperek (second from left) celebrates one of her three wickets in the match.   -  Getty Images

On a winning streak in recent times, New Zealand cracked the Australia code for a third time in an ICC World Twenty20 competition at the Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) ground here at Jamtha. An emphatic victory virtually clinched its place in the semifinals.

Once captain Meg Lanning broke a long sequence of reverses at the toss and chose to bat, New Zealand showed its hand in the form of finger spinners and dominated the first session. Right-hand offspinner Leigh Kasperek, Scottish by birth, struck twice in the second over to put Australia on the back foot.

Two on-side catches by Lea Tahuhu sent back the openers Alyssa Healy and ElyseVillani, but it was the run out of Meg soon afterwards that clearly put the White Ferns in a commanding position. Desperately looking to recover from a dismal four for four by the end of the fourth over and 27 for four at the conclusion of the tenth over, Australia deployed its lower order resources, gathered courage and showed skill through Ellyse Perry (42, 48b, 3 x 4s, 1 x 6) to set a target of 104.

Leigh and Nielsen show

The New Zealand captain Suzie Bates decided to send down first eight overs of spin through left-arm spinner Morna Nielsen and Leigh and this upset the equanimity of Australians no end. The Australia top and middle order hit the ball hard, but failed to bisect a packed off-side field and clear it off the centre plot. In the circumstances, Elysse and Alex Blackwell first, and then Elysse and Jess Jonassen put their heads down and added valuable runs by smart running between the wickets and, in between managing to find the odd boundary.

When the Kiwis began the chase, Suzie and wicketkeeper Rachel Priest blitzed their way to collect 58 runs for the first wicket, and by the eighth over, it was well on its way to inflict a big defeat on Australia. “The Kiwis play good cricket and they are one of the favourites to win the title,” said Ellyse.

The Kiwi skipper said: “The match was played on the same wicket as the Black Caps against India. So the plan was to start with the spinners, but Leigh bowled so well that it was stretched to eight overs of spin at the start. We never expected Australia would be 4 for 4.”

Brief Scores:

Australia: 103 for 8 in 20 overs (Ellyse Perry 42, Leigh Kasperek 3 for 13, Erin Bermingham 2 for 23) lost to New Zealand 104 for 4 in overs (Rachel Priest 34, Suzie Bates 23).

British curator to oversee Nagpur pitch preparation - G. Viswanath

British curator Andy Atkinson arrived here on Sunday evening to oversee the pitch preparation for the ICC World Twenty20 men’s matches featuring the West Indies, South Africa and Afghanistan. The West Indies, which has beaten England and Sri Lanka, will face South Africa at the VCA stadium on Friday (March 25) and Afghanistan on Sunday (March 27). Atkinson has been in touch with the local curator, Amar Karlekar.