Australia thrash NZ to secure record-equalling win

By ScoreLine Desk - October 7, 2020

Australia had neither Meg Lanning nor Ellyse Perry to call on but they still produced their most comprehensive performance of the past fortnight in Brisbane, storming to their biggest-ever win over New Zealand to clean sweep the Rose Bowl series and equal the world record for 21 consecutive ODI victories.

The Australians had been at pains to downplay any discussion of that record – which they now share with Ricky Ponting’s legendary 2003 World Cup winners – but there was no missing its significance at Allan Border Field as this clinical and commanding unit marched into history with nary a foot put wrong on their way to a 232-run victory.

After piling on 5-325 in 50 overs – their highest-ever total against the White Ferns – they effectively ended the run chase with four wickets inside 15 overs, including star pair Sophie Devine and Amelia Kerr for golden ducks.

By the 27th over it was complete, New Zealand all out for 93 and Australia making it nine straight against their trans-Tasman opponents to suggest the present gulf in class between the two sides is perhaps as wide as ever.

Earlier, the sight of Rachael Haynes kitted out in her Australian gold and walking over for the toss flagged the absence of Lanning, who suffered a mild hamstring strain during her match-winning century two days earlier.

If there was any alarm among the Australian camp, it was well concealed, and regardless, it would have quickly eased when stand-in skipper Haynes (96) and her dashing opening partner Alyssa Healy (87) exploded out of the blocks en route to a 144-run first-wicket stand.

It was a spectacular partnership from the experienced pair, who made the decision by White Ferns captain Sophie Devine to bowl first almost immediately look a questionable one.

Healy particularly put on an exhibition of batting. The right-hander averages 55 since being promoted to open after the 2017 World Cup at the absurd strike-rate of 107 and from the moment she drove and cut a pair of fours either side of point in the second over her performance resembled an extended highlights reel.

The 30-year-old gave two chances in the sixties which New Zealand failed to seize, and that pattern continued through the innings as Haynes and Ash Gardner also benefited from the visitors’ profligacy in the field.

Healy’s exit in the 26th over made her the third Australian to fall at the historically unlucky 87 in Women’s ODIs, and it also led to Australia’s least productive period of the innings as 18-year-old Annabel Sutherland found her feet.

Sutherland’s elevation to No.3 spoke to the confidence Australia’s brains trust has in their teenage star, who later in the day exhibited her incredible all-round ability by taking the new ball.

From the first ball she faced, Sutherland timed an exquisite drive straight to cover, but she struggled to get going thereafter, moving to 16 from 40 balls.

Acceleration must have been the buzz word at the 35-over drinks break, as Haynes returned hydrated and in a hurry, smashing Devine over long off for six and then through mid on for four from consecutive balls.

From the next over, after Haynes punched four more through cover, she enjoyed a life when Amy Satterthwaite put down a simple chance at long on.

Sutherland then got in on the act, the right-hander delightfully depositing Huddleston for a maximum over wide long on from the very next ball.

The Victorian then became the first of Kerr’s three victims, bowled for 35 as she attempted to sweep, and the New Zealand leggie then had Haynes lbw four short of her century.

Kerr found considerable turn and bounce as she and Gardner (34) engaged in an entertaining game of cat and mouse for a couple of overs. It began with a beating of the bat, included one spectacular six over cover, and ended with the last ball of Kerr’s spell being popped up to Natalie Dodd at point – who promptly dropped an elementary chance.

Gardner’s 20-ball cameo came to an end soon after but she had lifted the run rate and from there a pair of stellar late-innings knocks from Beth Mooney (29no off 19) and Tahlia McGrath (29no off 11) – recalled for the injured Lanning – put the icing on a near-perfect display with the bat.

From there, it only became more one-sided, as pace spearhead Megan Schutt had Devine caught at short midwicket from the third ball of the innings.

Sutherland followed suit when she had Dodd caught hooking at deep backward square leg, and when Kerr dragged on a Schutt inswinger attemping an expansive drive from the first ball she faced, New Zealand were 3-28 and out of the contest.

Left-arm spinner Jess Jonassen has taken more wickets than anyone through this record winning streak and she took just 14 balls to add two more to that tally, removing Katey Martin and then Satterthwaite, who had looked the most dangerous of the Kiwis bats in making 41.

In fact, the left-hander was the only member of the top six to reach double figures, though No7 Maddy Green managed a run-a-ball 22 before she was lbw to Gardner.

That was the last of the resistance from New Zealand, who succumbed to a procession of spin from the hosts, with Gardner and Molineux completing the formalities with a minimum of fuss – just as Australia have done through this record streak.

By ScoreLine Desk

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