White Ferns make history

A 5-0 series sweep and yet another Amy Satterthwaite century has put the icing on the cake for the New Zealand White Ferns after they comfortably chased down Pakistan’s 220 in the fifth ODI in Nelson.

With the Series and World Cup qualification already in the bag, the match was an opportunity to continue detailed planning for the 2017 ICC Women’s World Cup, Satterthwaite maintaining her perfect record as an ODI captain after being asked to lead the team for just the second time in a One-Day International, having previously helmed the side to a victory against Ireland in Hove back in 2010.

Satterthwaite would also open the chase, alongside Sam Curtis, as regular opening combo Suzie Bates and Rachel Priest ran the drinks on a warm Nelson afternoon — Katey Martin taking a turn with the wicketkeeping gloves and Satterthwaite, the unparalleled batting star of the Series, delivering yet another century to become the first from any country in women’s ODI history to score three centuries in one Series.

Pakistan captain Sana Mir had earlier won the toss and asked the White Ferns to bowl in the humid conditions, a decision that ultimately benefited the two youngest members of the New Zealand attack.

Pakistan again started encouragingly with the bat, 66 without loss at the 15-over mark as positive young Ayesha Zafar and Nahida Khan denied their hosts an early breakthrough. They would pile on 84 for the first wicket — equalling the Pakistan ODI record against all countries.

In just her sixth outing, stylish Zafar was the more aggressive, and it paid off as she reached an assured second half-century in as many matches — unrattled even by a short-pitched statement of displeasure from Sophie Devine.

Sixteen-year-old Kiwi leg-spinner Amelia Kerr continued to show composure and variations beyond her years, however, and would deliver the sought-after wicket, trapping the right-handed opener on 50 to have Pakistan 101 for two in the 24th over, after Satterthwaite had broken through five overs earlier to remove Nahida Khan, caught on 31.

Thamsyn Newton had gone into the match with an ODI career-best of 1-10, and emerged with her maiden ODI five-wicket bag — dislodging Javeria Khan in the 39th over immediately after the Pakistani first drop had posted her own half century, then claiming Bismah Maroof on 22.

They were important strikes, the experienced Pakistani pair having looked good to continue their side’s early momentum before their dismissals led to the familiar story of the later order quickly falling away.

Both blades had sent catches to Kerr, who would go on to collect three grabs in all — in addition to her own new career best bowling performance of 4-42, wrapping up the Pakistan innings on 220 with three balls to spare.

The confident performance from the two newest members of the New Zealand side can only have given Suzie Bates and coach Haidee Tiffen cheer as they sat back and watched the action from the sidelines.

Satterthwaite, Player of the Series, would reach her half-century in just the eighth over, posting it with her 11th boundary. The dismissal of Curtis soon after ushered Devine to the crease at first drop to punch the first six of the innings off Pakistan captain Sana Mir, but Devine’s knock would prove a short one on this occasion, then Liz Perry was trapped in the 20th over by Nida Dar just as the run chase had dropped to fewer than 100.

But by then, the ever-composed Satterthwaite was already on 78*, well on her way to rewriting the record books.

She would reach her century off just 83 balls, including 15 boundaries before eventually being caught fending on 123. Following earlier scores of 18, 137* and 115* in the Series, Satterthwaite has scored 393 runs from her four innings and topped the averages with 196.50 — it was also her third century in as many innings, having not been required to bat in the fourth ODI on Thursday.

The White Ferns chased down the runs with 11.3 overs to spare, Thamsyn Newton smashing a boundary to cement the victory and the series sweep.

The tour has one more match remaining, the teams to meet in a sole Twenty20 International at Saxton Oval at 3pm on Monday afternoon.