Auckland Hearts beat Wellington Blaze by 110 runs (bonus point win)
Karori Park, Wellington
20 February 2021
Hallyburton Johnstone Shield defending champions the Auckland Hearts were the big movers as the competition resumed with four business-end rounds left before the Grand Final.
A crushing bonus-point win over Wellington Blaze at Karori Park saw them close the points gap on the Central Hinds who meanwhile had slipped down to second spot on the table at the hands of the Magicians.
Asked to bat first, Lauren Down and Anna Peterson (24) were patient to start, working together to get their side underway. It was a sign of things to come as a collective batting effort set up a match-winning total.
Three fifty partnerships followed between Down and Arlene Kelly (33) for the second wicket; Katie Perkins (30) and Holly Huddleston (31) for the fourth before Regina Lilii (24*) and Jesse Prasad (36) gave the innings a good finish with 65 for the seventh wicket.
Down had led the way, hitting 12 fours on her way to 69 off 79 balls while Thamsyn Newton was the best of the Blaze bowlers, finishing with 3-36 from her seven overs.
With 285/7 on the board, Kelly and Huddleston made an aggressive start. The wickets eventually fell but the first scalp fell to Peterson, trapping Rebecca Burns in front in the 10th over.
Molly Penfold then struck with her second delivery before Roz McNeill underlined her tidy start by claiming the wicket of Newton. Three down, and requiring 6.5 per over, Jess McFadyen did her best to keep the Blaze in the contest.
But in the face of a developing 66-run stand between McFadyen and Georgia Plimmer (29), the Auckland bowlers stuck to their task. Kelly (2-25) returned to the attack and the allrounder’s double strike in the 29th gave them a chance at a bonus point.
Running out of partners after Huddleston combined with wicketkeeper Tariel Lamb to complete the runout of Xara Jetly, McFadyen decided to chance her arm. McNeill (2-29) was on the money to bowl McFadyen for 75, before Peterson (3-42) sealed the 110-run victory with the Blaze all out for 175 in the 40th over.