Aussies thump NZ in T20 women's clash

Australia recovered from a shaky start to belt New Zealand by 40 runs in their opening T20 match at the MCG.

A 110-run stand for the third wicket between captain Meg Lanning and Elyse Villani put the Southern Stars in charge at 4-151 from 20 overs.

The White Ferns were never in the hunt and could only manage 8-111 in their 20 overs.

When first-gamer Ashleigh Gardner was run out off the first ball she faced for a duck, the Southern Stars were in trouble at 2-20.

Lanning was dropped on 20 and 24 before making the most of her let offs.

She made 60 from 52 balls, including eight boundaries, while Villani top-scored with 73 no.

Villani only faced 47 balls, hitting five fours and a six.

Lanning had an eventful match, taking a fine catch to dismiss Rachel Priest and giving Molly Strano her first wicket on debut.

But Lanning also dropped two catches off the bowling of Jess Jonassen - a sitter from Priest and a well-hit drive from NZ skipper Suzie Bates.

Gardner is the first indigenous women's cricketer to represent Australia since Faith Thomas played one Test in 1958.

The allrounder was one of three Australian T20 debutantes on Friday, along with Strano and Amanda-Jade Wellington, who was the pick of the bowlers with 3-15 from four overs.

No.4 Amy Satterthwaite top scored for NZ with 40 from 38 balls, while Bates made 26.

The new-look Australian team is without star allrounder Ellyse Perry, who is recovering from a hamstring injury, while Kiwi Sophie Devine is missing because of a dislocated thumb.

Friday was the first of three T20s between the Stars and White Ferns, played as curtain raisers before the men's Australia-Sri Lanka series.

The Australian women will also head to New Zealand in late February for three one dayers.