Bates takes Ferns to T20 series in Australia
Suzie Bates played a magnificent captain's innings today as she led the New Zealand women's cricket team to a first series victory in Australia for 26 years.
Chasing 135 to win the third and deciding Twenty20 international at Junction Oval in Melbourne, Bates slammed 67 from 44 balls as the Kiwis comfortably got home with 11 balls and seven wickets to spare.
It was the most dominant victory of the series, with New Zealand and Australia each snaring last-over wins in the first two matches on Tuesday, which set up today's decider.
It's also believed to be the White Ferns' first series victory on Australian soil - in 50-over or T20 cricket - since the 1987 Rose Bowl success, giving them the perfect confidence boost as they head to India for the 50-over World Cup, which starts next week.
"We really wanted to come out and carry on with the form we showed in the first two games and to bat the way we did after bowling really well, was really pleasing," said Bates, who was named player-of-the-match.
The skipper shared in a 101-run opening partnership with Lucy Doolan (35 from 40 balls), which set up the win.
Earlier, Jess Cameron scored 48 from 36 balls for Australia but she lacked support, after New Zealand had won the toss and inserted the hosts.
Spinner Morna Neilsen again stood out opening the bowling for the visitors, with the miserly figures of 1-9 from four overs.
"It was a good toss to win, starting that early it was a little bit tacky," Bates explained.
"But for Morna to bowl as well as she did was outstanding. She's been good for us in both games she played.
"It's just nice to have this momentum going into the World Cup, and this winning feeling."
New Zealand and Australia depart Melbourne for India on the same flight tonight, with the Ferns to have two warmup matches - against Sri Lanka and favourites England - before their opener against South Africa in Mumbai next Friday night (NZT).
Australia 134-5 from 20 overs (Jess Cameron 48; Morna Neilsen 1-9) lost to New Zealand 136-3 from 18.1 overs (Suzie Bates 67, Lucy Doolan 35) by seven wickets. New Zealand win the series 2-1.