The result: New Zealand 5-162 (Martin 56*, Devine 43; Gardner 2-22) lost to Australia 4-164 (Haynes 69no, Lanning 56no; Kasperek 2-28) by six wickets at North Sydney Oval
The match in a tweet: WHAT A WIN! A dynamic partnership from skipper Meg Lanning and Rachael Haynes helped us to six-wicket victory over our trans-Tasman rivals! #WATCHME
The hero: Rachael Haynes strode to the crease with her team in trouble at 4-45, with Beth Mooney, Alyssa Healy, Elyse Villani and Ashleigh Gardner all back in the sheds, and left it unbeaten with a career-high 69 not out. The Australian vice-captain had already scored a half-century against New Zealand playing for the CA XI in a warm-up on Thursday and she picked up where she left off, producing a match-winning hand. She found the boundary with the second ball she faced and from there she raced away, bringing up a half-century from 30 deliveries. It takes something special to make captain Meg Lanning look like a slouch, but Haynes managed that and more. She put the result beyond doubt in the 16th over, striking four boundaries from the dangerous Sophie Devine – and being dropped in the process – finishing unbeaten on 69 from 44 deliveries, having reached the boundary 11 times and cleared it once.
The Meg-a-star: Lanning’s knock was her first international outing on Australian soil in almost two years after she missed last summer through injury and she strode to the crease to a situation in which she tends to produce her best: with her team under pressure. At 3-26, Lanning immediately went on the attack, striking three boundaries from one Amelia Kerr over. And while she was pegged back through the middle of her innings, she picked up the pace as victory approached, bringing up her 12th T20I half-century in 40 deliveries to finish on 56no from 44.
The support cast: Ashleigh Gardner bowled impressively, capturing the key wicket of White Ferns captain Amy Satterthwaite for two as well as ending Devine’s knock on 43, finishing her four-over spell with 2-22. Left-arm spinner Sophie Molineux (0-21) took the new ball in the absence of the injured Jess Jonassen and also bowled well but without reward in her four overs.
The consolation efforts: Katey Martin lifted New Zealand from a precarious position at 4-78 to 5-162 with an action-packed unbeaten 56. The 33-year-old was unafraid to take on the Australian attack, first going after the bowling of Ellyse Perry and later Delissa Kimmince and Megan Schutt in a 33-ball blitz that featured eight boundaries and two sixes. She combined with Bernadine Bezuidenhout (20no from 13) to add 36 runs from the final two overs, ensuring Australia would have to make history to take a 1-0 lead in the series.
Star allrounder Sophie Devine also produced a superb game with both bat and ball. While her top-order teammates fell cheaply, she kept the scoreboard ticking over with a rapid-fire 43 (33) before being dismissed by off-spinner Ashleigh Gardner, while with the ball, she removed Australian stars Beth Mooney (6) and Elyse Villani (4), both lbw, with her opening over.
The stat: Australia’s successful chase was their highest against New Zealand, eclipsing the 7-145 they ran down against their trans-Tasman rivals at the same venue in 2012. Lanning and Haynes’ partnership of 119 was also the highest fifth-wicket partnership in women’s T20Is.
The perfect start: Ellyse Perry struck with her first ball of the international summer, bowling the dangerous Suzie Bates for three.
The debutant: Victorian leg-spinner Georgia Wareham was presented with Australia T20 cap #50 by skipper Meg Lanning before the match, reward for the strong impression the 19-year-old made in Thursday’s warm-up game in Manly. She came in for some punishment from Jess Watkin early, taken for a boundary and then a six, but bounced back to remove the New Zealand No.3 with her sixth international delivery, courtesy of a brilliant leg-side stumping from Alyssa Healy.
The next stop: Australia and New Zealand will fly to Brisbane tomorrow, where they’ll only just have time to catch their breath before the second match of the series at Allan Border Field on Monday at 2.10pm.
Australia XI: Alyssa Healy (wk), Beth Mooney, Ashleigh Gardner, Meg Lanning (c), Elyse Villani, Rachael Haynes, Ellyse Perry, Sophie Molineux, Delissa Kimmince, Georgia Wareham, Megan Schutt
New Zealand XI: Suzie Bates, Sophie Devine, Jess Watkin, Amy Satterthwaite (c), Katey Martin (wk), Maddy Green, Bernadine Bezuidenhout, Hayley Jensen, Amelia Kerr, Leigh Kasperek, Lea Tahuhu
CommBank T20 INTLs v NZ
Australia T20 squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Delissa Kimmince, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Elyse Villani, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham
September 29: First T20I, North Sydney Oval, Sydney
October 1: Second T20I, Allan Border Field, Brisbane
October 5: Third T20I, Manuka Oval, Canberra