Northern Districts beat Central Hinds by 8 wickets in a bonus point win
Pukekura Park, New Plymouth
13 March 2021
Needing to win to stay in mathematical contention, Northern Districts piled the pressure on fellow Finals contender the Central Hinds in the Saturday game in New Plymouth, the penultimate round of the closely fought regular season.
Sent in, and without two key WHITE FERNS in Natalie Dodd (unavailable) and Hannah Rowe (returning from injury), the otherwise consistent Hinds produced one of their shakiest performances of the summer right when it hurt them the most.
Northern Spirit made a huge early breakthrough with Jess Watkin caught off Shriya Naidu in just the fifth over for four runs.
Despite a gritty, patient half century from veteran Kerry Tomlinson (57 off 107) at four, with positive late support from Georgia Atkinson (31 off 48, in a 63-run stand for the seventh wicket), the tail was left with far too much work to do after the Hinds had lost six wickets inside the first 21 overs.
It was a combined effort from the fighting ND side.
Naidu, young spinner Makayla Templeton and Brooke Halliday all picked up a brace with another young spinner in Nensi Patel - who opened the spin-heavy ND attack alongside Naidu - impressing with her economy, and running out Emily Cunningham in just her second over, before the fall of Watkin a few balls later had ND doubly celebrating.
At the other end of the innings, veteran spinner Eimear Richardson wrapped it up with five balls in hand, and despite having re-acquired the services of WHITE FERN Rosemary Mair - playing her 50th List A match - the Hinds never looked on to defend a total of 176.
Brooke Halliday and Katie Gurrey showed all their experience as they made a steady, careful start against Mair and Claudia Green, before gradually turning up the elements.
Having been 33/0 after the first set of 10 overs, Halliday welcomed spinner Watkin to the crease by peeling three boundaries off the Hind's first over - and it wasn't until Monique Rees came on in the 20th that the home team was able to break the dangerous opening stand.
Gurrey was the batsman to depart, caught by Watkin on 30 but by now the pair had already picked off 70 of the required 177 runs.
Halliday (above) continued to impress in her strong all-round season, the captain leading the way with a top score of 59 off 83 deliveries.
She batted into the 30th over before Melissa Hansen finally has a reward for some tight work with the ball, but powerhouse Kate Anderson had already seen to it that they would share a 77-stand for the second - leaving a simple task ahead for Anderson (47* off 42) and Felicity Leydon-Davis (25*) as they ticked off the remaining runs with a huge 17.4 overs to spare.
The dominance saw ND pick up a bonus point - exactly what they had needed to stay in contention, albeit still requiring a ditto result on the following day, as well as a net run rate result elevated in their mathematical favour, to survive.