Auckland Hearts defeated Otago Sparks by 8 wickets
Melville Park, Auckland 8 December 2019
Different day, different game, same result.
The Auckland Hearts picked up their third bonus point victory in six rounds, and second of the weekend - a vital edge that will see them head into 2020 as the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield leaders.
Stung by their defeat in last season's Grand Final against the Central Hinds, the resumption of the national one-day championship in February - following the Dream 11 Super Smash T20 window - promises two spicy encounters with the two teams yet to meet in the 50-over format.
The Hearts picked up another eight-wicket win over the struggling Otago Sparks in the last round of the calendar year, but the Sparks could take solace in an improved performance from their utter drubbbing one day previously.
The southerners have been heavily reliant on WHITE FERN Hayley Jensen with bat and ball, and while Jensen top-scored with a run-a-ball 69 in today's sixth round, they could take added heart from dimunitive Eden Carson's unbeaten 51, also at run-a-ball pace, down the order.
Sent in, the pair underpinned an Otago total of 193 for nine in a match reduced to 46 overs by squally rain.
After Bella Armstrong's record day with the ball yesterday, this time the wickets were shared around the Auckland attack after the Sparks had resolved to dig in at the top.
No one quite reached a 50-stand, but they had set the Hearts a proper target this time around that was later adjusted to 197 by the weather.
Unfortunately for the Sparks, Auckland's top order was well versed in the reply.
WHITE FERN Lauren Down developed a solid unbeaten 88* while Saachi Shahri reached a half century shortly before she became the first home wicket at 134 for four.
With the lion's share of the work done, veteran Katie Perkins ensured the Hearts made it two from two for the weekend with an unbeaten 56*-stand seeing them cross the line in just the 35th over.