The NZ Development XI is in the midst of a four-match series against Australia Women Under-19 at Lincoln, and Auckland’s contingent have played a starring role in NZ Development’s two victories so far.
In the first match on Tuesday, Arlene Kelly took two wickets as NZ bundled Australia out for 187.
Saachi Shahri and Lauren Down then came out and forged a 135-run opening stand. Down retired after smoking 86 off 67 balls – a score which included 14 fours and a six. Shahri herself made 50, including 10 fours.
Given the Hearts pair had knocked off most of the required runs, NZ Development soon had a five-wicket win inside 32 overs.
In yesterday’s second match, Auckland players were once again crucial. Skye Bowden took two wickets in her first four overs, but Australia was able to post a significantly better score than they had in the previous match. NZ Development bowled them out for 248.
Again, Down got NZ Development off to a great start, racing out to her half-century and eventually posting 82.
In the final overs, the match looked like it was swinging Australia’s way. NZ Development required seven from the final over, and Australia took two wickets in the first three balls.
Now eight wickets down, NZ needed six runs from three deliveries. Bowden had stamped her mark early in the game, and she stepped up to do so at the end. After taking a single off her first ball, she slammed the second over cow corner for six. NZ development won by two wickets with just two balls to spare.
Update: After the terrorist attack in Christchurch, the final two matches of the series have been abandoned.