New Zealand won its first women's cricket World Cup with a close-fought four-run victory against defending champion Australia at Lincoln Oval, near Christchurch yesterday.
The match went down to the wire, as Australia, with only one wicket to spare, needed five runs from the last over. But spin bowler Clare Nicholson had Charmaine Mason caught behind from the first ball to give New Zealand victory.
White Ferns' captain Emily Drumm says a World Cup victory has been a long time coming and she's glad they can finally claim the title their own.
She says finishing runner up two tournaments in a row was tough but all the hard work over the past seven years has paid off.
The White Ferns took two key Australian wickets early on – those of leading scorers Lisa Keightley and Karen Rolton.
Captain Belinda Clark then led the comeback with a solid knock of 91 from 102 balls but wickets fell regularly at the other end.
But the New Zealanders fought back, Nicholson clean bowling Clark to leave Australia 150 for seven in the 42nd over.
The final eight overs was nail-biting stuff, as the Australian lower order tried to keep the run rate going. Eight was scored off the 48th over titled the balance toward Australia with 10 needed from the final two overs.
Earlier New Zealand made a good start, winning the toss and electing to bat first. After Anna O'Leary went cheaply, Rebecca Rolls and captain Emily Drumm came to the crease for what seemed a promising partnership, taking advantage of the fielding restrictions inside the first 15 overs.
After a 30 minute rain delay, the pair had the run rate moving along swiftly until both fell in consecutive overs. Drumm was caught behind for 21 from 29 balls with five fours.
Rolls was then caught at deep backward square by Therese McGregor for 34.
That left Debbie Hockley and Haidee Tiffen to try and restore the White Ferns fortunes, but just as they began to get the innings underway again Tiffen was caught while Hockley, playing her final innings for New Zealand, fell for a patient 24.
Helen Watson's wicket soon after left the New Zealanders foundering at 136 for six but all-rounder Kathryn Ramel's knock of 41 helped stabilise the innings.
But after her departure for 41, the White Ferns' innings ended in the 49th over with the final four wickets falling for 12 runs.