Australia Under 19s have fallen agonisingly short of victory in the second 50-over match against New Zealand Development, the hosts mowing down the Australian total with two balls to spare.
A brilliantly compiled century from Annabel Sutherland helped Australia to a solid total of 248 at Bert Sutcliffe Oval, but the New Zealand middle-order batters dug in their heels to secure a two-wicket win and 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
Two final over wickets to Charli Knott as well as three scalps to Hayley Silver-Holmes featured in what was a much-improved performance from Australia, the team bouncing back impressively from a convincing five-wicket defeat in the first fixture.
Electing to bat first, a 47-run opening stand from Josie Dooley and Thalia Wilson laid the foundation for Australia.
Australian skipper Rachel Trenaman was dismissed for a duck in the tenth over, making way for in-form allrounder Sutherland.
Sutherland – who top-scored for Australia with 58 in Tuesday’s fixture – came to the crease in the tenth over displaying similar intent.
She batted confidently for 36 overs, reaching her hundred off 114 deliveries and finding the boundary 10 times before being dismissed by Jacinta Savage for 103.
Phoebe Litchfield – a highly touted 15-year-old left-hand bat – supported Sutherland well at the crease, the two putting on a crucial 88-run partnership.
Sutherland’s departure in the 45th over signalled the start of the collapse for Australia, who lost 5-18 to be all out for 248 with three balls remaining.
New Zealand began their chase in destructive fashion. Off the back of a match-winning century on Tuesday, Lauren Down put 82 on the board to propel the hosts toward the Australian total, with an 88-run stand from Down and Thamsyn Newton proving difficult for the Australian bowling attack to break.
It wasn’t until the 35th over that pace bowler Silver-Holmes finally emerged with a breakthrough for Australia, capturing the key wicket of Down.
An inspired Silver-Holmes continued to deliver, dismissing new batter Polly Inglis two balls after Down departed, before picking up Newton’s wicket off her very next over.
Needing runs on the board from their middle order, Kate Anderson and Jacinta Savage provided exactly that for New Zealand, an important 57-run partnership steadily edging the hosts toward the target.
Economical bowling, in particular from Silver-Holmes who took 3-43, as well as off-spinner Isabelle Afara who finished 0-35, saw the run rate slow and giving the Australians a chance to fend off the New Zealanders.
Needing seven runs for victory off the last over, captain Trenaman passed off-spinner Charli Knott the ball. Two final over wickets saw the equation narrowed to six runs off three deliveries, but in the end, it was a Skye Bowden maximum to secure a series win for New Zealand Development.
Live stream courtesy of New Zealand Cricket.
Australia Under-19 squad
Isabelle Afaras (NSW Metro), Darcie Brown (South Australia), Stella Campbell (NSW Metro/Sydney Sixers), Maddy Darke (NSW Metro), Hannah Darlington (NSW Metro/Sydney Thunder), Josephine Dooley (Queensland/Brisbane Heat), Nicole Faltum (VIC Metro/Melbourne Stars), Charli Knott (Queensland/Brisbane Heat), Phoebe Litchfield (Cricket Australia XI), Hayley Silver-Holmes (NSW Metro/Sydney Sixers), Courtney Sippel (Queensland/Brisbane Heat), Annabel Sutherland (VIC Metro/Melbourne Stars), Rachel Trenaman (ACT/NSW Country/Sydney Thunder), Tahlia Wilson (NSW Metro/Sydney Sixers)
Australia Under 19 Tour of New Zealand
50-over matches: March 12, 14 and 15 at Bert Sutcliffe Oval, Lincoln
20-over match: March 17 at Bert Sutcliffe Oval