BRISBANE-New Zealand held their nerve in the final over of the third T20I to register their first win over Australia since February 2017. 

With 123/7 on the board, New Zealand had the opportunity to break Australia’s seven-match winning streak in T20Is. It was not an easy task as the visitors had to overcome several early as well as last-minute hiccups, but Amelia Kerr’s back-to-back fours off Megan Schutt in the final over carried them to a five-wicket win. 

The White Ferns began their chase cautiously, but lost opener Maddy Green for just 10. Georgia Wareham’s first over yielded two more wickets while Sophie Devine’s (25) productive stay was cut short by a quick stumping by Alyssa Healy, Suzie Bates (3) was undone by a terrific direct hit from Rachael Haynes at cover. Amy Satterthwaite took on the responsibility to stabilise the visitors’ innings along with Katey Martin  as the duo brought up the fifty partnership in the 15th over with New Zealand requiring 30 off the last five. But it was Wareham once again, who provided the hosts with a much-needed breakthrough, knocking off Martin’s off-stump. Jess Jonassen dismissed Satterthwaite in the next over to leave Kiwis stuttering on 98/5. With 26 needed in 22, the match was in the balance. However, Kerr maintained her composure to hand New Zealand a hard-fought victory. 

Earlier, New Zealand justified their decision to field first with an inspired bowling performance. Australia openers Beth Mooney and Healy got off to a slow start as Kerr kick-started the proceedings with a fine maiden. Just when it looked like the two were starting to accelerate, Devine got the breakthrough: Mooney nicked one behind for 11. Healy departed for just 8 in the 7th over. Australia lost two more wickets by the 10th, with Kerr dismissing Haynes (3) and Meg Lanning (21) in successive overs.

Ashleigh Gardner briefly resurrected the batting with some excellent shots but was stumped off Hayley Jensen in the 14th over for a 21-ball 29. None of the remaining batters were able to convert their starts. Kerr was awarded player of the match for her 2/18 and 18*. With victories in the first two matches, Australia took the series 2-1. 

SCORES IN BRIEF: NEW ZEALAND: 5 for 125 (Satterthwaite 30, Wareham 2-19) beat AUSTRALIA 7 for 123 (Gardner 29, Kerr 2-18, Tahuhu 2-28) by five wickets.