Game 3, and it’s a familiar situation for New Zealand in the Rose Bowl ODI series: outclassed, trophy gone, nothing to play for but pride. The Australians have won this thing every time dating back to 1999. A proud record for one side and a sorry record for the other, a team that has been broadly competitive across that period, a team that won the 50-over World Cup in 2000, but that can’t put it together consistently against the Aussies.
In the first match of this series New Zealand couldn’t set a testing target to chase. In the second match they couldn’t chase a taller one themselves. There have been some moments of excellent bowling and fielding for the Kiwis but they haven’t done much with the bat. Two of their three senior guns are missing – Sophie Devine with fatigue and Suzie Bates still recovering from a long-term shoulder injury – which doesn’t help, although their presence hasn’t tipped the scales in many previous Rose Bowls contests.
New Zealand were good during the T20 series preceding these one-dayers, and took Australia to a decider that was rained off. Now, very late in the season, is one chance to end on a positive note. As for the Australians, they’ve now won 23 matches in a row and would like that to continue.