The White Ferns' Twenty20 series against England has ended in fittingly limp fashion.
A 32-run defeat has seen England take a 3-0 series sweep, and the margin of defeat today flatters the White Ferns.
Chasing a mediocre 128-9, the Ferns were much worse than mediocre, once again struggling with the bat as they slumped to 63-9, only for a last-wicket partnership to somewhat spare their blushes.
Their bowlers had given the Ferns a chance, restricting England on a worn Wellington wicket. Sophie Devine claimed 3-30, Rosemary Mair conceded only 17 runs from her four overs, and every bowler was economical.
Unfortunately for the hosts, England's bowlers were better, or depending on your viewpoint, New Zealand's batters were worse.
The Ferns' chances of victory immediately plummeted when powerful openers Devine and Hayley Jensen were both trapped lbw by Katherine Brunt in the opening over, and while Amy Satterthwaite (25 off 26 balls) and Amelia Kerr (18 off 19) tried to rebuild the innings, both fell in quick succession and the asking run rate was only climbing.
Ultimately, the required run rate proved to be irrelevant as wickets tumbled, with wides (seven) contributing more than six of the Ferns. From 37-2 they plunged to 63-9, and only Maddy Green (25 off 26) and No11 Mair (13 not out off 15) ensured that the defeat wasn't of historic proportions.
When Green was dismissed with two overs remaining, the White Ferns' struggle was over — in both the game and the series, with England heading home having claimed five victories in six clashes across the ODI and T20 formats.
Devine tried to put a positive spin on what she acknowledged were poor results.
"We were again in patches able to put the pressure on and then not being able to take the chances. We know how good this English side were. Unfortunately it's been a bit of a theme for this series.
"We're on a journey. We've got to keep looking at the big picture. We've got a World Cup in 12 months, we've got new players into the environment, we've lost a lot of senior players as well. That's no excuse for our performance, we know we've been under par but for us, we've got to learn how to play consistent cricket against the best sides.
"We've got a fantastic opportunity coming up as well with the Aussies coming over. We've got to learn quickly but we've also got to be realistic about we're on a journey that's 12 months in the making."