It wasn't the result the White Ferns wanted, but a win to Australia in the second of three one-day internationals in the Rose Bowl series at Bay Oval yesterday has set up a mouth-watering encounter in tomorrow's decider.
"Wednesday, it's going to be exciting isn't it? It's finals cricket," said White Ferns head coach Haidee Tiffen after her side had been beaten by eight wickets thanks largely to the batting of Australian skipper Meg Lanning. Lanning led from the front with 114 not out backed by Ellyse Perry who was 64 not out. Lanning's knock included 12 fours and 3 sixes.
"We got beaten by a better side. They were a classy side today and when you've got the likes of Meg Lanning who just comes out and plays an innings like that, it's hard to win."
Read more: Cricket: White Ferns knock over Australia
Lanning said it was a batters' wicket and the plan was to build a big partnership to reverse the loss in game one on Saturday.
"Just batting through the innings (was the difference). We spoke about having a big partnership over the whole innings so that was a big focus and that worked for us. Once we were set we were keen to make it a good score."
The unchanged White Ferns made a poor start after losing the toss and being put into bat. Opener Rachel Priest, then Saturday's player of the match Amy Satterthwaite, both went for 0 and New Zealand were behind the eight ball on 5/2.
Skipper Suzie Bates steadied the ship putting together a score of 61 before being caught by Sarah Coyte off spinner Jess Jonassen, but the hosts had recovered and made 206 in their 50 overs. Sophie Devine chipped in with 67.
"At 5/2 I thought we batted extremely well to get ourselves out of it, so there are some positives, and we've just got to continue to build partnerships to give ourselves a chance.
"They bowled really tight lines and we got stuck a bit with just a few inconsistencies with our bowling."
Tiffen said she knows from the first game that the White Ferns are capable of beating the visitors tomorrow.
"We've got to go in making sure we do the basics well. We've got to be more consistent with the ball, put the ball in good areas and back that up with some good fielding.
"I think if we can get off to a good start and build some big partnerships we can put on a really good total or we can chase a good total."
After reaching their century and half century in consecutive overs, Lanning and Perry made short work of reaching the target, with Australia scoring 210/2.
"They are number one in the world for a reason," said Tiffen. "We knew they'd come out hard at us today and knew it was going to be tough and it's going to be another level on Wednesday.
The third and deciding game in the series is at Bay Oval tomorrow, starting at 10.30am. Entry is free.