A top class century from captain Suzie Bates was the key factor as the White Ferns defeated England by 67 runs at Mount Maunganui's Bay Oval yesterday.
The game was the first of the three-match ODI series at the venue this week in round two of the International Women's Championship to qualify for the ICC Women's World Cup in 2017.
The White Ferns batted first after England won the toss and made 240/8 in their 50 overs. Openers Bates and Rachel Priest got the innings off to a rollicking start putting on 157, with Bates cracking 14 boundaries in her 106 scored off just 113 balls to reach her sixth ODI century.
Priest was also in good touch but the innings changed dramatically in the 30th over when England captain Charlotte Edwards threw the ball to her sixth bowler Heather Knight.
She quickly removed Priest for 52 and bagged three more cheap dismissals as the White Ferns slumped to 182/6. Knight ended with 4-47 off 10 overs but Katie Perkins (27no) cleverly worked the tail through the final overs to get the total up to 240.
The White Ferns bowlers soon had England in trouble and they never recovered. Knight opened the batting with her captain Edwards and was run out by a good piece of fielding by Kate Broadmore. Opening bowler Lea Tahuhu then removed Lauren Winfield before Sarah McGlashan ran out Edwards to have England teetering at 51/3. The pressure intensified on batters Sarah Taylor and Lydia Greenway with the accurate White Ferns bowlers Morna Neilson and Erin Bermingham strangling the run rate as England reached 79/3 after 25 overs.
Tauranga-born Neilson captured the key wicket of Taylor an over later before Bermingham made the crucial breakthrough, bowling Greenway for a stubborn 27 to have England reeling at 93/5 with 20 overs left. Bermingham showed the benefits of bowling full and straight to hit the stumps again an over later and England's innings crumbled further to 125/8.
Anya Shrubsole top scored with an entertaining 29 in a 10th wicket partnership of 47 with Danielle Hazell, but it was too little too late as England were bowled out for 173 in the 45th over.
Canterbury's Bermingham finished with the best figures of 2-20 off 10 overs.
The teams meet again at Bay Oval tomorrow and on Sunday starting at 10.30am. Free entry.
-White Ferns 240 (S Bates 106, R Priest 52) defeated England 173 (A Shrubsole 29; E Bermingham 2-20, S Devine 2-30) by 67 runs.