New Zealand Women's summer of cricket is off to a strong start with the White Ferns defeating Pakistan Women by eight wickets in Lincoln today to claim the first One-Day International of the home season.
Superb catching ensured the White Ferns got on top early, while 16-year-old debutante Amelia Kerr made a promising beginning to her international career by bowling her 10 overs at a cost of just 21 runs.
The teenage leg-spinner also claimed her maiden ODI wicket, holding a caught and bowled to dismiss Pakistan captain Sana Mir on 1, and was unlucky not to walk off with two victims after Sidra Nawaz was dropped.
Pace bowler Lea Tahuhu was meanwhile the dominant force in the wickets column, named Player of the Match after picking up 3-37. Tahuhu made the first breakthrough in the fifth over, Ayesha Zafar deceived by her in-swing and wicketkeeper Katey Martin claiming the first of the day’s showcase of top catches.
Martin was wearing the gloves in place of usual keeper Rachel Priest as New Zealand took the opportunity to use new combinations as planning continues towards the 2017 ICC Women’s World Cup.
Sam Curtis successfully moved up to open the batting with captain Suzie Bates, pace bowler Hannah Rowe also moving up the order, while the victory also marked Martin’s and Katie Perkins’s 50th ODI for the White Ferns.
After Bates put Pakistan in, Amy Satterthwaite’s slip catching was a highlight of the first innings, holding a screamer with one-hand as she dove to her left to send Pakistan’s number four Bismah Mahroof back to the pavilion scoreless, after the Pakistani star had prodded at Holly Huddleston.
Satterthwaite followed that up with a key grab off Tahuhu that ensured the demise of the experienced Nain Abidi — breaking a 62-run stand for the fourth wicket to have Pakistan 90/4 at the midway point of the innings.
Abidi was sent back just one run shy of what would have been her eighth ODI half century, and it would prove the equal highest contribution for the visitors — Asmavia Iqbal left unbeaten on 49 as the rest of her side fell away to be all out for 156 in 49 overs.
A calm young Kerr struck next, and bowled her 10-over spell unbroken in her first match, including two maidens; while off-spinner Morna Nielsen (2-27) produced a gem for the eighth wicket, pitching on middle and leg to Maham Tariq who then found the top of her off-stump knocked back.
After a runout polished off the innings, the White Ferns were presented with a modest target of 156 in warm and sunny conditions at Bert Sutcliffe Oval.
Suzie Bates responded with an aggressive 64 off 46 balls, setting up a victory which saw her overtake coach Haidee Tiffen as New Zealand’s most successful White Ferns captain in One-Day International cricket.
She and Sam Curtis (55* off 64) had put on exactly 100 for the first wicket before Bates was stumped off Mir, and Curtis carried on, carrying her bat for an unbeaten maiden ODI half-century.
Amy Satterthwaite was the only other wicket to fall as Katey Martin and Curtis saw it home in just 23 overs.