New Zealand have sealed a Twenty20 series win over the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars with a five-wicket victory at Wellington's Basin Reserve.
A brilliant unbeaten fifty from Ellyse Perry was not enough for the Southern Stars to keep the series alive in Tuesday's second T20I, as the White Ferns chased Australia's 6-116 with three balls to spare, led by a half-century from captain Suzie Bates.
It handed the hosts a 2-0 series lead with one match remaining, consigning Australia to their sixth defeat from their last eight T20Is, and their third consecutive T20 series loss – an unwanted trend for the tourists ahead of next month's World T20 in India.
Sent in to bat for an eighth successive T20I, Australia's batters were again put on the back foot early as a top-order collapse left them floundering at 3-13.
Two strikes from left-arm spinner Morna Nielson saw in-form skipper Meg Lanning and fellow opener Elyse Villani depart in the third over,Lanning bowled while trying to force a delivery away on the off side before Villani was caught at square leg off a sweep shot.
Then, Alex Blackwell could only add two runs to the total before she too returned to the dugout, caught behind off the bowling of Lea Tahuhu, as the Stars lost 3-3.
Alyssa Healy joined Perry at the crease and after a cautious start the pair started to find their groove, with Healy striking the first boundary of the match in the eighth over.
But just as Healy kicked things up a gear with the first six of the match in the 11th over, the keeper-batter departed attempting to replicate the shot one ball later, having scored 23 from 19 deliveries.
Perry proved immovable, however, and stepped on the accelerator in the latter parts of Australia's innings, scoring an unbeaten 55 from 47 deliveries, including two sixes.
The Southern Stars total was three runs higher than the 7-113 they posted in the first match, but again it proved too low for their bowlers to defend.
Lanning became creative as she sought a way to stop the White Ferns, chopping and changing her bowlers and even bringing herself into the attack.
While Lanning's part-time medium pace brought immediate success, with her first over finding the first two breakthroughs – dismissing first Rachel Priest and then Sara McGlashan – Bates ensured the result was never in doubt, scoring 54 from 53 balls before falling with just 10 runs required.
Her dismissal sparked a mini-collapse as New Zealand lost 3-9, but it wasn’t enough for Australia to pull off a miracle.
The Southern Stars had made three changes from the XI which suffered a four-wicket loss on Sunday, bringing in Grace Harris, Kristen Beams and Rene Farrell as they seek their best combination for next month's tournament in India, but again their batting line-up was unable to click.
They will have a chance to walk away with a consolation victory on Friday when they head to New Plymouth for the third and final T20I.