The New Zealand women's hockey team has drawn 1-all with Australia in their latest game at the Hawke's Bay Festival of Hockey.
The result keeps Australia top of the standings, with New Zealand second, while Japan's surprise 4-1 loss to the USA keeps them third.
The top two teams after two rounds of round robin meet in the final on Sunday.
There was just one point separating Australia and New Zealand on the points table ahead of this match with their previous clash in round two resulting in the same 1-1 draw.
The first quarter was evenly fought with both teams creating a number of quality chances to score.
Australia broke the stalemate in the 28th minute when a penalty corner saw Madi Ratcliffe rattle a shot into the back of the goal.
The second half followed a similar pattern, with both teams pressing hard on attack but unable to create many genuine chances.
Black Sticks striker Samantha Harrison delivered the equalising goal in the 52nd minute after receiving the ball and chipping over the keeper's head into the goal.
At the end of five rounds Australia retains the points advantage with nine, the Vantage Black Sticks stay in second with eight, Japan are on six and the USA four.
The Vantage Black Sticks meet USA in their final round robin match on Saturday.