The Auckland Hearts cemented their position at the top of the women’s domestic One Day points table, claiming a comprehensive eight wicket victory over the Wellington Blaze at Melville Park, Auckland.
The penulitmate round match offered the Blaze a chance to push for a berth in the final, but having been dismissed for just 110, they were unable to stop the Hearts from surpassing their meagre total in the 27th over.
Sam Curtis led the pursuit and made it back-to-back half centuries, following up her 59 from yesterday with an unbeaten 55 today.
Her and fellow opener Megan Tremaine (30) almost single-handedly ensured their side victory with an opening stand worth 62, before Tremaine fell in the 14th over.
Maddy Green went shortly after for just one, but alongside number four Katie Perkins (12*) Curtis edged the Hearts ever closer to victory.
After 26.3 overs the game was over. It gave Auckland a substantial lead at the top of the table and sets them up for a home final to defend their crown next week.
Earlier, five Hearts’ bowlers had picked up two wickets apiece to run through the Blaze in 43.3 overs.
Apart from 28 from Lucy Doolan and 26 from Lauren Ebsary, the Blaze top order were unable to make starts and the pressure began to build – and it showed.
At 86 for eight it looked like three figures may be a stretch for the visitors, but an unbeaten 13 from Andrea Stockwell at the end of the innings ensured the Blaze bowling attack would have at least something to defend.
It would end up not being enough though, as Auckland made easy work of the chase and all but ended the Blaze’s aspirations of reaching the final.