Leigh Kasperek picked up three wickets in five balls to boost New Zealand, but in the end it wasn’t enough
Australia 149 for 7 (Healy 46, Kasperek 3-24) beat New Zealand 128 for 9 (Schutt 2-22, Wareham 2-25) by 21 runs
Before this match, in the several hours of waiting created by persistent showers in Mount Maunganui, there was not inconsiderable debate over whether or not Australia’s world-record ODI winning streak would be thwarted by a no result on account of the weather. Like most possible concerns about the fortunes of this team, it did not take long for them to be rendered academic.
Just as theoretical conversations about no result were ramping up, the skies cleared enough at the Bay Oval for a truncated, 25-over affair in greasy conditions. The delay and the shortened contest did serve to change Australia’s batting line-up, switching it from ODI to Twenty20 mode.
But it made no difference to the outcome, as Meg Lanning’s team once more demonstrated too great an array of influential performers for New Zealand to cope with, despite another startling spell from Leigh Kasperek to pluck three Australians in the space of five balls.
Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney gave the tourists the strongest of starts after being sent in to bat, swift enough to mean that though their union of 73 in 62 balls was followed by the loss of seven wickets for 76 in the remaining 88 deliveries of the innings, the tally of 149 was still eminently defensible.
Kasperek’s crafty finger spin squeezed out Healy, Gardner and the demoted Rachael Haynes in the space of a single exemplary maiden over, and after Lanning and Ellyse Perry were unable to regain control of proceedings, it was left to Nicola Carey, Wareham and Jonassen to scramble handy and extremely necessary runs at the finish.
Similarly to game two, the conditions offered both swing and spin for Australia’s bowlers, luxuries they rejoiced in given some of the more unresponsive pitches they commonly have to ply their trades upon in Australia.
Darcie Brown moved the ball at pace, albeit without enough control, on her ODI debut, and Megan Schutt’s inswing was sharp as ever. After Katey Martyn shovelled a Schutt full toss to long-on, the stage was left for Wareham, Jonassen and Gardner to flummox the hosts with spin bowling of high quality and no little variety.
Hayley Jensen was cramped by Wareham’s spin first ball, pulling straight to mid-on, and once Amelia Kerr was ruinously run out it was only a matter of time before one of the left-handed Amy Satterthwaite or Brooke Halliday succumbed to Gardner’s sharp offbreaks – in the end it was New Zealand’s captain who snicked straight to Lanning at slip.
Halliday and Maddy Green also fell to the turning ball, and as the scoring rate slipped ever more into the mire, it was clear a long way before the final ball that the Australians would be returning to home comforts with a 3-0 Rose Bowl sweep and a 24-game winning streak still very much alive.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig