Melbourne, Jan 24 (IANS) Australia women lost the tightly-contested Twenty20 series against New Zealand 2-1 following a seven-wicket loss in the third and deciding match at the Junction Oval here Thursday.
The home side lost the toss and were sent in to bat. Elyse Villani, who recently rejoined the national side, found the boundary on three occasions and scored a quick-fire 20 runs before she was dismissed.
Jess Cameron (48) proved the mainstay for Australia with her knock, which included four fours and two sixes. She was well supported by Lisa Sthalekar (24) as they took their side's total to 134/5 after 20 overs. The wickets were shared evenly among the White Ferns bowlers, with Morna Nielsen (1/9) the most economical.
New Zealand got off to a solid start in their run chase with openers Lucy Doolan (35) and Suzie Bates (67) putting together a strong partnership and notching the majority of runs required to achieve the target.
The White Ferns reached their target in the 19th over, finishing 136/3. Ellyse Perry and Renee Chappell were the only wicket-takers for Australia.
New Zealand captain Bates claimed the player-of-the match award while Meg Lanning was named player-of-the-series.
The Australian team will depart Friday for India to take part in the ICC Women's World Cup.