Australia hammer White Ferns in Twenty20 international cricket in Melbourne

Suzie Bates made 26 in a losing effort for the White Ferns against Australia at the MCG.

Suzie Bates made 26 in a losing effort for the White Ferns against Australia at the MCG.

The White Ferns allowed Australia to recover from a shaky start to belt the visitors by 40 runs in their opening Twenty20 international at the MCG.

A 110-run stand for the third wicket between captain Meg Lanning and Elyse Villani put the Southern Stars in charge at 151-4 from their 20 overs batting first.

The New Zealand women's side was never in the hunt and could only manage 111-8 in reply.

When debutante Ashleigh Gardner was run out off the first ball she faced for a duck, the Southern Stars were in trouble at 20-2, and Lanning was dropped on 20 and 24 before making the most of her let-offs.

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She made 60 from 52 balls, including eight boundaries, while Villani top-scored with 73 not out. Villani only faced 47 balls, hitting five fours and a six.

Lanning had an eventful match, taking a fine catch to dismiss Rachel Priest and giving Molly Strano her first wicket on debut.

But Lanning also dropped two catches off the bowling of Jess Jonassen – a sitter from Priest and a well-hit drive from NZ skipper Suzie Bates.

Gardner is the first indigenous women's cricketer to represent Australia since Faith Thomas played one test in 1958.

The allrounder was one of three Australian T20 debutantes on Friday, along with Strano and Amanda-Jade Wellington, who was the pick of the bowlers with 3-15 from four overs.

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Batting at No 4, Amy Satterthwaite top-scored for NZ with 40 from 38 balls, while Bates made 26.

The new-look Australian team is without star allrounder Ellyse Perry, who is recovering from a hamstring injury, while Sophie Devine is missing for the White Ferns because of a dislocated thumb.

Friday was the first of three T20s between the Stars and White Ferns, while the Australian women will also head to New Zealand in late February for three one-dayers.

 - AAP


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