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Australia women

Haynes, Lanning guide Australia to six-wicket victory in first T20I

Aus v NZ, 1st WT20I, report

Rachael Haynes and Meg Lanning helped Australia recover from 45/4 with a century partnership, guiding their side home in the first T20I against New Zealand.

The former played an incredible knock 69* off just 40 deliveries, while the Australian skipper exhibited patience and panache to notch up a 44-ball 56*. The duo powered their side to the 163-run target in 17.4 overs, with six wickets in hand.

Earlier, New Zealand got off to a shaky start after being invited to bat, as opener Susie Bates (3) was dismissed by Ellyse Perry's first ball in the third over.

Sophie Devine (43) and Jess Watkin (18) tried to steady the ship with a 48-run stand for the second wicket, before the latter returned to the pavilion, stumped off a wide by Alyssa Healy in the eighth over, giving Georgia Wareham her first wicket on international debut.

Devine returned to the pavilion soon after and it seemed like the White Ferns would struggle to post a competitive score. However, a 34-ball 56* by wicket-keeper Katey Martin saw them pass the 160-mark in style. Bernadine Bezuidenhout played a vital ancillary role, as the duo racked up 36 runs in the last two overs.

Off-spinner Ashleigh Gardner was the pick of the Australian bowlers, returning figures of 2/22 in her three-over spell. Perry, Megan Schutt, and Wareham scalped a wicket apiece. 

Australia faltered early in the chase, losing Healy, Beth Mooney, Gardner, and Elyse Villani for scores of 14, 6, 7, and 4 respectively, Leigh Kasperek and Devine taking two wickets each.

With Australia struggling at 45/4 after 5.1 overs, New Zealand were on top of the game. However, Lanning and Haynes took the attack to the White Ferns, stitching an unbeaten 119-run partnership between them.

Haynes was in scintillating form, picking up where she left off for Loughborough Lightning in the Women's Cricket Super League in England. Her knock was laden with 11 fours and a six, and she reduced the normally explosive Lanning to a supporting role.

It was one the captain was more than willing to play as they made a difficult task look simple, laying down a marker for the next two games to come.

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