Auckland Hearts beat Otago Sparks by 8 wickets (bonus point)
Queens Park, Invercargill
5 December 2020
Bella Armstrong maiden List A half century
Bella Armstrong's 43-ball maiden half ton was the highlight for visitors the Auckland Hearts who sprang back from a tough opening weekend in New Plymouth to sweep aside the Otago Sparks to the tune of eight wickets, and, a bonus point.
The weather in the deep south did not initially play ball, but after an early lunch was taken anf five hours were whittled away, eventually officials called play on a tricky 24-over game that made use of Southland's extra long daylight hours.
Back from the WBBL alongside Katie Perkins, WHITE FERN Lauren Down took over the interim captaincy duties for the Hearts from Regina Lili'i and sent the Sparks in at Queens Park.
In just the second over, Molly Penfold nabbed the first Sparks wicket by trapping Gemma Adams, but fellow opening bat Milly Cowan and Caitlin Blakely pounced on several scoring opportunities to race the score out to 31/1 at the end of the four-over powerplay.
Down turned to seamer Jesse Prasad (2-12) who started her spell with a maiden. Next over, she bowled Cowan to break the promising second-wicket stand, before legspinner Jane Barnett marked her first bowl of the season with the wicket of Bella James in the 13th.
Once the defending champions seized control, they never looked back.
Fran Jonas followed up five tidy overs through the middle by combining for a runout with wicketkeeper Tariel Lamb to end a dangerous knock by Polly Inglis (22 off 19) while Blakely (44*) hit six boundaries to help the Sparks reach 116 for five in their 24.
Dependable Down (below) and first drop Armstrong led the way in reply in what turned out to be a straightforward chase to get the Hearts on the board.
An early wicket was soon a distant joy for the Sparks as the pair put on 63 for the second wicket off 59 balls.
Down finished with 40 off 34, while allrounder Armstrong remained unbeaten with her career best 62 not out, including nine fours and a six that seal the bonus-point victory with half a dozen overs in hand.
The teams are back at Queen’s Park tomorrow for Round Four.