Kingston: Suzie Bates played a captain’s knock to lead New Zealand women to a dramatic one-run victory over West Indies in the first of three One-Day Internationals (ODI) at Sabina Park here.
Having opted to bat, Suzie Bates (110) constructed a well-made century to give the White Ferns a total of 225/8. In reply, the West Indies looked to be cruising at 212/6 and needed just 14 runs from 30 balls.
A late flurry of wickets allowed the White Ferns back into the match before claiming the final dismissal in the last over to claim a sensational victory. The West Indies pursuit had looked on track with the dangerous duo of Stefanie Taylor (38) and Deandra Dottin (65) taking their side through to 105/3.
Lea Tahuhu’s dismissal of Taylor saw captain Merissa Aguilleira (43) come to the crease and along with Dottin she took control of the game.
At 197/5 from 41 overs the result looked all but certain to be in favour of the home side but a late rally from the New Zealand bowling unit, led by Nicola Browne with three key wickets, kept things alive.
The match finished in drama with Shaquana Qunityne run-out after backing up too far. Browne led the wickets column while Morna Nielsen was the most economical with figures of 2/22 from 10 overs.
Earlier, the White Ferns opening pair of Bates and Nat Dodd (18) made steady progress to reach 50 without loss in 15 overs. The visitors continued to keep wickets in hand with Bates building a strong platform.
In the 43rd over, the 25-year-old brought up her fifth ODI ton off 114 balls. Currently ranked the No.1 batsman in the world, Bates now has an average of 74.43 in 2013 and has had only one score under 30 since March 3, 2012.
Sophie Devine (34) alongside her skipper took New Zealand to 210/2 with three overs remaining. Unfortunately a string of late wickets including that of Bates, who was run-out, stemmed the White Ferns` run-rate and they finished the 50 overs unconvincingly.
The two sides meet again Tuesday at Sabina Park for the second ODI.