White Ferns finally tested by Sri Lanka in tight Twenty20 cricket win
The White Ferns finally had to dig deep before securing a tense 11-run win over Sri Lanka in their second women's Twenty20 cricket international at Nelson's Saxton Oval on Friday.
The win enabled Sara McGlashan to celebrate becoming the first to play 200 games for the White Ferns across all international formats. Since debuting in 2002, she has represented her country in two tests, 131 one-day internationals and now 67 Twenty20s, with the retired Nicola Browne the next highest on 180 appearances.
But it was White Ferns skipper Suzie Bates who dominated proceedings, top-scoring with 69 in the White Ferns' total of 114-7 before taking 3-23 in Sri Lanka's brave reply of 103-8.
After losing the one-day series 5-0 - all by convincing margins - and after suffering a 102-run loss in the opening T20 in Christchurch, Sri Lanka's bowlers finally bared their teeth to apply some genuine pressure on the White Ferns' batsmen.
Having scored two centuries and an unbeaten half century in the one-day series, White Ferns opener Rachel Priest became Sri Lanka's prized early scalp, gone for just two at 11-1 in the second over after she lofted an easy catch to mid-off.
Sri Lanka struck again two overs later, Sophie Devine edging Ama Kanchana, also for two, to become the seamer's second victim at 16-2. And when McGlashan also holed out to mid-off for four, Kanchana had her third wicket as the White Ferns sunk deeper into the mire at 28-3 in the sixth over.
Skipper Suzie Bates and Amy Satterthwaite (12) attempted a recovery with a 36-run fourth wicket partership but Satterthwaite was gone at 64-4 as Sri Lanka continued to fight.
Bates was the constant in a struggling White Ferns innings, eventually bringing up her 50 off 44 balls, including only three boundaries. She'd lose two more partners before being run out off the last ball of the innings for 69, having faced 58 balls and hitting four of the Ferns' five boundaries.
Kanchana finished with 3-22 off her four overs.
Sri Lanka made a superb start to their run-chase, openers Chamari Atapattu and Prasadini Weerakkody putting on 64 runs before Weerakkody was stumped for 21.
Sophie Devine made the vital breakthrough when she had Atapattu caught and bowled for 47 off 55 balls at 76-3. At 86-4 and needing 29 runs off 18 balls for victory, Sri Lanka were further reduced to 86-5 before requiring 12 runs off the final over.
But Sri Lanka lost three wickets in the final over to give Leigh Kasperek excellent figures of 3-7 as the innings finished at 103-8.
White Ferns 114-7 (S Bates 69, E Perry 16, A Kanchana 3-22, O Ranasinghe 1-19, I Ranaweera 1-14) beat Sri Lanka 103-8 (P Weerakkody 21, C Atapattu 47, S Bates 3-23, E Bermingham 1-21, S Devine 1-23, L Kasperek 3-7) by 11 runs.