2020/21 OPENING DAY
Central Hinds beat Auckland Hearts by 7 wickets - bonus point win
Pukekura Park, New Plymouth
21 November 2020
The Central Hinds’ season is off to a flier after a sensational record victory against New Zealand’s defending one-day champions the Auckland Hearts at Pukekura Park this morning.
After a raft of preseason injuries — and with a number of their WHITE FERNS players unavailable, the Hearts had brought a relatively fresh side with two debutantes to New Plymouth, but were quickly on the back foot after Hinds captain Anlo van Deventer won the toss and sent them in.
The Hinds attack had meanwhile been without star WHITE FERNS bowler Rosemary Mair (playing the WBBL in Australia) but, using just four bowlers, took just 21.1 overs to dismiss their visitors for 49 — with 23 extras.
It was a tough morning for the Hearts as they registered the fourth lowest tally by any team in the competition’s history, and Auckland’s lowest ever total in Hallyburton Johnstone Shield cricket with their previous mark having been 51 against the Canterbury Magicians 32 years ago.
It was also a Central Hinds record, smashing the previous lowest total against the team which had been 75 — jointly set by the Otago Sparks (2006/07) and Wellington Blaze (2018/19), both at Palmerston North’s Fitzherbert Park.
The Hinds chased down their modest target in just 7.3 overs for a 7-wicket victory completed before lunchtime.
WHITE FERN Hannah Rowe (2-3) had got the ball rolling with a tight first spell earning her the first breakthrough in the seventh over with the departure of Saachi Shahri.
But it was new ball partner Claudia Green - opening the attack in Mair's stead - who had the field day, ripping out the next four of the Hearts’ top five for a career-best haul of 4-21 off just eight overs.
It bettered the Nelson-based right-armer’s previous best of of 2-18, after just eight wickets from her 11 previous appearances.
Green struck twice in the space of three balls in her fifth over, but she was denied a maiden List A five-wicket bag as the wickets continued to tumble in swift succession for the change bowlers, Monique Rees claiming 3-15 and spinner Jess Watkin 1-8.
After removing the Hearts’ sixth wicket in the 16th over, Rees struck twice in the space of two balls in her next over to leave Rowe the honour of wrapping up the innings as she came back into the attack and dismissed her former Manawatu teammate Jane Barnett to wrap up the innings — with opener Shahri’s 7 proving to be the top score for the Hearts, after extras.
“I’ve been putting in the hard work over the winter and it was really nice to be able to contribute to the team,” said an elated Green.
“It was a really nice wicket to bowl on. The ball was swinging early and doing a bit off the seam as well, so it was about us nailing our lines. It was important not to get complacent as a bowling attack — we knew they could still build a partnership there.”
Green relished opening the attack with the experienced Rowe who was meanwhile marking her 92nd women’s List A match.
“It was great to open with Rowey and she started so strong, it’s just awesome to watch her bowling like that — opening with a maiden.
“She got us in the game early, then Monique was just moving the ball all over the show. It’s a dynamic bowling attack and I was just stoked to be able to contribute in the first match of the season.”
Jess Watkin then blasted 22 off 11 balls to ensure a quick victory despite a maiden wicket for Hearts debutante Molly Penfold and Jesse Prasad (below, PHOTOSPORT) putting herself on an unconverted hat-trick.
The two teams meet again at the same ground in Round Two tomorrow.