Auckland Hearts beat Otago Sparks by 3 wickets (bonus point win)
Queens Park, Invercargill
6 December 2020
Jane Barnett: List A career best bowling
A total of 154 after having been sent in might suggest a short game, but the Otago Sparks fought hard for those runs as the Auckland Hearts continued to improve with every game this season.
It was the second successive bonus point win for the defending champions in Invercargill.
Skipper Lauren Down won the toss amd opening bowler Molly Penfold again got the first wicket while Roz McNeill was almost impeccably tidy, conceding just six runs from her first five overs.
The Hearts' strong start with the ball continued in the hands of young Fran Jonas who claimed two wickets in her first two overs as the Sparks slipped to 29/3.
A string of extras helped Sparks Bella James and Polly Inglis settle into a fourth-wicket stand - before leg-spinner Jane Barnett joined the party.
From there, the Hearts maintained the pressure; Barnett ever present on her way to career-best figures of 4-31 from her eight overs.
While the Aucklanders remained on top throughout, the Sparks fought through to the 49th over before Bella Armstrong wrapped up the hosts’ innings at 154.
The chase faced an early challenge when Armstrong was caught at the end of the second over.
The majority of the chase from that point was comfortable, however, with Regina Lili'i (45), Katie Perkins (39) and Lauren Down (24) all spending valuable time at the crease.
Wickets fell with the bonus point in sight, but the hard work had largely been done and the Hearts eventually made it two-from-two in the 38th over.