Amy Satterthwaite has scored her fourth ODI century in a row. The first woman in the world of cricket to do so, the only other person to scored four consecutive One-Day International hundreds is Sri Lanka men's great Kumar Sangakarra, who did it at the 2015 ICC World Cup. The phenomenal achievement comes as the WHITE FERNS have taken a 1-0 Rose Bowl Series lead over world champions Australia with a thrilling five-wicket win at a buoyant Eden Park Outer Oval.
A large crowd turned out to see the WHITE FERNS play their first match in Auckland for years, and the team rewarded them by chasing down Australia’s solid 275 in the last over as they look to lift the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1999.
Satterthwaite played a gutsy, match-winning role, battling cramp in both legs on a warm and humid afternoon. When she walked off unbeaten, it took her run of most recent ODI scores this season to 137 not out, 115 not out, 123 (all against Pakistan at the beginning of this season) & 102 not out today. Three centuries in a row was already a women's world record. Four is more than anyone dreams.
The graceful left-hander was not the only star for the side in an impressive victory.
Wicketkeeper Rachel Priest held some screamers behind the stumps to tick off five dismissals in the innings — equalling the New Zealand record of four catches (shared by herself already, Rebecca Rolls — who was watching on the banks — and Sarah Illingworth, as well as stumping Jess Jonassen for her captain.
Australia, too, had watched a special hundred unfold as their 23-year-old anchorwoman Beth Mooney recovered from an indifferent T20 Series to celebrate her maiden ODI century in just her seventh match, as the three-match 2017 Rose Bowl Series got underway.
It was the highlight of an Australian innings that steadily gathered momentum through the first 40 overs, Mooney stringing together 50-stands and threatening to carry her bat — before wicketkeeper Priest dived for a one-handed screamer to end her stay.
After having been put in the field, the WHITE FERNS pace bowlers found their magic late, a torrent of wickets at the death leaving Australia bowled out for 275 inside 49 overs, something that had seemed quite unlikely for most of the innings. They took the last seven wickets for just 38 runs.
Lea Tahuhu had led the way again, and delivered the second bag of four in her ODI career. The highlight was an outstanding, one-handed caught and bowled to remove Alyssa Healy, then her pace ally Holly Huddleston wrapped it up for her local crowd with 3-46.
But the biggest cheer arguably had gone up in the 12th over for captain Suzie Bates (2-44) when she busted through Meg Lanning’s defences to bowl her opposing skipper for just 15.
Given Lanning’s century-strewn track record in recent Rose Bowl encounters, it was an exciting moment — and the crowd on the well-populated banks knew it.
However, from 61 for two, Mooney ensured the Australian ship righted itself, putting on 95 runs for the third wicket with fellow half-centurion Rachael Haynes.
The WHITE FERNS kept their composure after not one, but two would-be dismissals were overruled by unusual no-ball adjudications — free hits rubbing salt into the wounds, Amy Satterthwaite and Huddleston the faulted bowlers as Mooney clawed onwards to her maiden ton.
Mooney built an 81-stand for the fourth wicket with aggressive Ellyse Villani, but from 237 for four — when Villani was caught by Tahuhu off Satterthwaite after an impact 50, her first, Australia began its spiral to 275 all out in the space of just six action-packed overs.
A 275-plus target was a gauntlet thrown, however, and Bates and the team needed RPO 5.52 from the outset to grab a head start in the Rose Bowl Series.
Bates and Priest helped make solid in-roads with an unbroken, run-a-ball opening 50-stand inside the first nine overs, but it was Satterthwaite who took charge after Bates was caught on 55.
Katey Martin assisted with a near run-a-ball 43 in a 74-run stand for the third wicket, and a cameo from a busy Katie Perkins, who rustled up a quick 29 to keep things on target near the end with a 77-stand for the fifth, provided key support as a determined Satterthwaite guided them home with her sixth ODI century, in one of the team's best chases.
Mindful that they let a 1-0 Series lead slip away against Australia last summer, the WHITE FERNS now head to Mount Maunganui for a crunch second encounter at Bay Oval on Thursday, followed by the final Rose Bowl ODI next Sunday at the same ground.
"It was an outstanding feeling, I don't think we've done that too many times, let alone against Australia," Satterthwaite said afterwards.
"But Australia is a classy unit and they don't roll over easily. We were in this position [1-0 up] last year and Australia came back and ended up winning the Series, so we have a lot of hard work to do. We need to step up a notch because Australia will be coming back hard."