Katey Martin followed a brisk fifty with an impressive showing behind the stumps as New Zealand Women held their nerve for a thrilling eight-run win against Windies Women in their first Twenty20 International.
Martin and Suzie Bates set the home side on course to 167/6 in 20 overs. Fifties from Hayley Matthews and Stafanie Taylor put Windies ahead in the chase, but excellent work in the death meant they could go no further than 159/6.
Put in at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand lost Sophie Devine early, but that didn’t stop a flurry of boundaries.
Bates and Martin brought up the fifty inside the Powerplay and had added 76 for the second wicket when Bates was caught at short fine leg one short of a fifty. Her 38-ball 49 included seven fours and a six.
Amy Satterthwaite pitched in with a breezy 19-ball 36. But once the well-set batters fell, with Martin sent back for 35-ball 54, the Windies bowlers, led by Deandra Dottin (2/23), pulled things back slightly.
In their chase, Matthews dominated the opening stand of 42, with Merissa Aguilleira contributing just 5 before she was bowled by Devine.
Matthews, who had struck four boundaries in the second over, off Lea Tahuhu, raced to 53 off 31 balls. It included 10 fours and it needed a moment of brilliance from Martin, the wicket-keeper, who combined with Leigh Kasperek, the off-spinner, to send her back.
Taylor found an ally in Kyshona Knight to add 56 runs in 5.3 overs for the fifth wicket, guiding the side all the way to 153/5 in 18.3 overs.
But two wickets for Kasperek in the 19th – Martin again smartly pulled off a stumping when Kycia Knight fumbled a switch hit – and a new batter struggling against Devine in the final over meant New Zealand pulled off a special win.
Taylor was left stranded on 51 off 31 balls, with three fours and as many sixes against her name.