Australia has proven its the team to beat at the Women’s Cricket World Cup with a five-wicket win over New Zealand in Bristol.
After restricting the White Ferns to 9-219, with spinner Jess Jonassen and Megan Schutt taking three wickets apiece, the defending champions chased down their target with eight balls to spare.
Alex Blackwell and Elysse Perry led the team home after New Zealand had given themselves a glimmer of hope with two wickets in as many balls.
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Perry was caught on the boundary with the scores level, as she tried to clear the rope, allowing Blackwell to knock off the one run needed for victory.
New Zealand bowled well in the first 10 overs, with the in-form Nicole Bolton and Beth Mooney unable to get Australia off to a flying start.
Bolton was the first to depart for 26 when she chipped Anna Peterson straight to Holly Huddleston at mid-on and she was followed back in the pavilion by Beth Mooney for 32 after she was clean bowled by Lea Tahuhu.
Australia appeared to be cruising to victory with in-form skipper Meg Lanning looking in ominous touch at a ground where she averages 128.
However, 16-year-old legspinner Amelia Kerr grabbed two wickets in as many balls to give New Zealand a sniff of an upset victory.
Lanning was first to fall for 48, when Kerr found the edge of her bat and Rachel Priest took a smart catch behind the stumps.
Elyse Vilani, who has not yet had a bat in the opening two matches of the tournament, then received a ripper of a delivery that clipped the top of her middle and off stumps for a first-ball duck.
Lanning lost the toss and Australia were invited to field and it was their spinners that did majority of the damage to the New Zealand innings.
Looking well set at 1-85, Jonassen ripped through the top order with the wickets of Amy Satterthwaite, Katey Martin and skipper Suzie Bates.
Some lower-order resistance from Erin Bermingham and Katie Perkins helped the White Ferns clamber past 200 but three wickets from Schutt pegged back the charge to put Australia in full control.