Defending champions back on track



Auckland Hearts beat Northern Districts by 46 runs

Eden Park Outer Oval, Auckland

20 December 2020


In the last round of national domestic one-day cricket action around New Zealand before teams broke for Dream11 Super Smash, three teams heading in with a chance to take the lead into the new year - including  defending champions the Auckland Hearts who will resume in 2021 nicely placed in third spot on the table.

The Hearts won the toss and batted at Outer Oval. Stung by their dramatic loss on the previous day, Northern Districts were meanwhile fired up to reverse that calamity in Sunday's sixth round.

The Hearts had brought in WHITE FERN strike bowler Holly Huddleston as well as Saachi Shahri and, for the first time in a year, Sarah Carnachan for Tauriel Lamb, Arlene Kelly and Molly Penfold.

But after winning the toss, things did not start well for the hosts who lost four wickets inside the first 20 overs.

Opening bowler Lucy Boucher and first change spinner Eimear Richardson (above) had both strick twice, putting Anna Peterson and Bella Armstrong back in the hutch for single digit scores and removing Lauren Down (caught) and Regina Lili'i (stumped) respectively.

Yet again the pressure fell on Katie Perkins to rescue the innings for the Hearts at 75/4, and the dependable allrounder embarked on a patient fifth-wicket stand with Shahri.

The partnership reached 105 before ND captain Felicity Leydon-Davis broke through with the important wicket of Perkins caught at backward point on 63.

That brought WHITE FERN Huddleston to the middle at 180/5 in the 36th over to help get Shahri to her own half century, off 54 balls.

But when Brooke Halliday (a career best 4-33) swiftly accounted for Huddleston, it was the start of a spree for Halliday who ripped out four wickets from three overs - including Shahri, caught on 65, to have the Hearts suddenly nine down. The hosts would scramble to 222 before being dismissed with four balls remaining in the final over.

Roz McNeill got two early strikes for the Hearts - including Halliday - to ensure ND didn't get off to a flier in response, while Fran Jonas picked up a big early wicket in Leydon-Davis at 88/3.

Kate Anderson would reach a half century for ND - and would prove the key dismissal for Bella Armstrong (2-30 off six).

After Anderson departed at 153 for six in the 37th over, ND lost their way despite a gutsy 26 at run a ball pace from Richardson. Fran Jonas zeroed in for an outstanding haul of 3-22 off her nine, before Jesse Prasad wrapped it up once more to have Northern all out for 176 in the 43rd.






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