Australia were playing a One Day International after a year but Meg Lanning and Co had no trouble in securing a record-extending 19th consecutive victory in the format as they beat New Zealand by seven wickets in the first match of the series.
The hosts, who had clinched the Twenty20 International series marking the sport’s return 2-1, looked in imperious form as they skittled the White Ferns for 180 and then chased the lowly target with more than 16 overs to spare.
Lanning and Co are already in the middle of the longest winning streak in women’s ODI history and winning all games in the this three-match series will see them level Ricky Ponting’s 2003 team at the overall world record mark of 21, according to cricket.com.au.
Australia’s spinners were the stars of the show as captain Lanning guided the chase with an unbeaten 62.
The Player of the Match was legspinner Georgia Wareham (2-23) who along with left-arm orthodox pair of Jess Jonassen (2-29) and Sophie Molineux (2-28) combined to stifle the strong New Zealand top order. Katey Martin (21 from 44) was the only player in the top six to go past 20 as the big three of Sophie Devine, Suzie Bates and Amy Sattherthwaite didn’t fire.
From 83/6, it was only the late resistance of Maddy Green (35 from 49) that ensured a respectable score but a target of 181 was never going to trouble the Australian batting lineup. Openers Rachel Haynes (44 from 62) and Alyssa Healy (26 from 27) started strong and the chase was completed by Lanning.