Women from Australia 4 by 164 (Haynes 69 *, Lanning 56 *, Kasperek 2-28) won Women from New Zealand 5 by 162 (Martin 56 *, Devine 43, Gardner 2 -22) by six terrains
Australian captain Meg Lanning and her deputy leader Rachael Haynes took the lead of a steep pursuit to shoot the hosts of the victory over New Zealand at the opening of the international Twenty20, in front of an enthusiastic audience of North Sydney Oval and a prime-time television audience on the new free station, Seven.
This game was the first international televised program on Australian soil not broadcast by Channel Nine in almost 40 years, signaling the beginning of a new era for the game in Australia, and Lanning and Haynes assured that it would be marked with a winning result for the home side Katey Martin and Sophie Devine had taken New Zealand to 162, a total that did not seem likely when tourists had 5 of 120 with less than four overs remaining.
However, Martin's clean blow, with the help of Bernadine Bezuidenhout, presented the Australians with a more challenging task, and the top positions in the search did not help their cause. Alyssa Healy and Elyse Villani fell into the space of a single Devine, while Beth Mooney and Ashleigh Gardner also fell quickly. In 4 by 45, New Zealand seemed to be the most likely winner.
But the women of Australia never lost an international T20 in North Sydney, and the Lanning team considers the terrain to be their most valuable local advantage. A fierce intention to protect that record was wide throughout the partnership that subsequently developed between Lanning, who missed last year's Ashes series due to shoulder surgery, and Haynes, who had successfully replaced the captain.
Actually, it was Haynes who played the most dominant role on the stand, unusually given Lanning's pre-eminence as a power hitter and stroke tracer in the women's game. This puzzled dynamic New Zealand and its captain Amy Satterthwaite, who could not summon any combination of bowling to limit the Australian pair.
Having initially allowed the required execution rate to fade, Haynes and Lanning steadily reduced it, before finally surpassing the total with 14 leftover balls with a flurry of limits towards the end of the pursuit. Devine's 2-for-31 was the only analysis that held the Australians enough, with the victory coming as the position rose to an unbeaten 119 for the fifth wicket: Australian star Ellyse Perry did not even have to hit.
He played with remarkable economy in the New Zealand innings, a feature also shared by the spell of Sophie Molineux. While Martin and Devine were able to find the limit regularly against the rest of the Australian attack, they could not climb far enough to prevent the Lanning collective from retaining its proud northern Sydney record when a new era began.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.