Central Hinds beat Canterbury Magicians by two wickets
Mainpower Oval, Rangiora
21 February 2021
The Canterbury Magicians managed to hold on to their newly acquired Hallyburton Johnstone Shield lead, but just one point now separates the Magicians, Auckland Hearts and Central Hinds heading into the final two rounds in March - with the first two teams set to play against each other in those crunch encounters.
The Hinds will have been disappointed to miss out on a bonus point after having turned the tables on the Magicians, but four points nonetheless kept the dangerous green team well positioned in third spot.
After captain Anlo van Deventer won the toss, the Hinds made a strong start with the ball at Mainpower Oval, Jess Watkin opening with a maiden to Kate Ebrahim and Claudia Green likewise tight at the top before the change bowlers, Melissa Hansen and Monique Rees, reaped the rewards, each with a wicket in their first over.
The early loss of yesterday's centurion Ebrahim was a big blow for Canterbury, bringing debutante Abigale Gerken to the middle with the powerful Nat Cox (34). The beginnings of their partnership brought some promise, but Gerken's fall in the 20th set off a chain reaction - the Magicians suddenly finding themselves 95/6 inside 27 overs as the Hinds got well on top with the ball.
Spinners Watkin (3-17) and Ashtuti Kumar were difficult to get away through the middle, and the pressure on the Magicians to elevate their score at the death brought Watkin two wickets in three balls, and the Hinds three wickets in four balls as Georgia Atkinson (4-50) then struck again with the first ball of the 46th.
Dismissed for 182 in the 47th, the Magicians could thank keeper-batsman Laura Hughes (51 off 68) and captain Gabby Sullivan for giving the bowlers a shot at something to bowl at with their 83-run stand for the seventh wicket, but it was a vulnerable tally if the Hinds got going in the chase.
And get going they did, thanks to Watkin producing a run-a-ball half century at the top: 66 off 68 balls with three sixes and five boundaries peppering her fluid shot-making.
She gave her side momentum and, despite economical performances from Jess Simmons (3-35) and Sullivan (2-26) and a fight with the ball that ensured the Hinds would not race home for a bonus point, the Hinds got across the line with more than eight overs to spare.