A six-month break has failed to change the fortunes of the White Ferns.
On their return from cricket's Covid-19-enforced hiatus, the White Ferns have once again gone down to Australia in their first Twenty20 clash in Brisbane – their 12th consecutive defeat to their trans-Tasman rivals across all formats.
The Ferns haven't beaten Australia since February 2017, and the familiar result followed a familiar pattern as well, with the New Zealand bowlers holding their counterparts to what seemed an attainable first-innings score – 138-6 – only for the combination of a slow(ish) pitch, quality Australian bowling, and a lack of power hitting seeing the White Ferns fall 17 runs short.
Having removed Beth Mooney and Alyssa Healy within the first five overs, and Meg Lanning in the ninth, the Ferns had Australia in a spot of bother, and two wickets in an over to skipper Sophie Devine reduced them further to 83-5 after 14 overs.
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However, Ashleigh Gardner dispatched Amelia Kerr for consecutive sixes in the 17th over, and Hayley Jensen for two fours in the 18th, with her 41-ball 61 pivotal in getting the hosts through to a defendable tally.
In response, the White Ferns timed their chase poorly. Devine's block/bash approach didn't pay off when she was stumped – though replays proved it an extremely close call – for 29 off 34 balls, while Suzie Bates hung around until the 18th over but didn't provide much value, mustering 33 off 38 balls.
The only innings of substance that was faster than a run-a-ball was Katey Martin's 21 off 16, but the slow going from her top-order teammates meant that the asking rate was too difficult, and Megan Schutt took advantage of a middle order hitting out at the death to end with 4-23 as Australia wrapped up another comfortable victory.
The two teams meet again tomorrow afternoon.