Leigh Kasperek was in the runs again | PHOTOSPORT

Blaze takes scorching win off HBJ leaders

Video Highlights


Round 5

Saturday, 9 December 2023

Kennards Hire Community Oval, Auckland


Wellington Blaze : 5 points

Auckland Hearts: 0 points


Selected milestones

Phoenix Williams: List A and Wellington Blaze debut

Cate Pedersen: Auckland Hearts debut (previously Central Hinds)

Elizabeth Buchanan: Auckland Hearts debut

Olivia Anderson: Auckland Hearts debut

Caitlin King: 50th List A match for Wellington Blaze

Skye Bowden: Career best List A score

Defending champion Wellington Blaze snatched a dazzling Hallyburton Johnstone Shield win against competition leaders the Auckland Hearts, winning by 157 runs after bowling out their hosts for just 90.

Reaching the midway point of the campaign, the Hearts had a raft of new faces with their WHITE FERNS away and a couple of injuries in the camp, and faltered at home with the Blaze snaring a bonus point to narrow the gap at the top of the table to just two points, ahead of tomorrow's repeat showdown.

That's now a big top of the table clash, with a chance of a new leader this time tomorrow, if the Hearts can't regroup and reset in a hurry.

Hearts coaches Tarun Nethula and Rob Nicol watch on | MBUTCHER

Batting first, Blaze captain Leigh Kasperek's 73 and Kate Chandler's 56 ensured the visitors put a defendable total of 247/8 on the board - but there was plenty of fat left over after the Hearts were bundled out in just the 28th over.

Having lost their own top three early - with young dangerwoman Bree Illing cleaning up Rebecca Burns, the Blaze could well have been in the same boat had the Kasperek/Chandler combo of experience and youth not rescued them from 66/3 in the 14th.

Kasperek reached her 50 before drinks, and Chandler soon after, at an even quicker pace. The pair gelled as they built a 106-run stand for the fourth wicket.

The score had reached 172 before Chandler was stumped in the 36th over, while the nuggety Kasperek kept going to take her side past the 200-mark.

Of course, their stand was more than enough to win the match on its own, because the Hearts had a shocker of a start, losing three wickets in the first three overs of the chase - with Nicole Baird striking twice.

That became 10/4 when Cate Pedersen, the former young Central Hind, was run out on debut in the fifth over.

Disaster struck again when Prue Catton was run out by a dead-eye throw from Xara Jetly.

The Hearts simply never recovered and found themselves all out in the 28th, Skye Bowden top-scoring with 39, a new career best in a desperate fight.






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