The Auckland Hearts produced a top drawer effort with the ball to claim a narrow 16-run victory as the NZC Women's Twenty20 competition resumed against the Central Hinds in Palmerston North.
The Hearts' bowlers executed a second innings ‘squeeze’ on the home side’s batting line-up, defending their modest 112 for six.
Conditions had been tricky for batting for both sides, but both WHITE FERN Holly Huddleston and young Bella Armstrong picked up two wickets apiece in the second half while Arlene Kelly and Roz McNeill chipped in with a wicket each.
However, it was the efforts of WHITE FERNS allrounder Anna Peterson who really swung the game in the Aucklanders' favour with figures of 3-14 from her four overs as she removed the dangerous Central middle order.
As the game wore on, Auckland’s total started to get a bit big on the home side, a runout in the final over personifying both Central’s desperation and the Hearts’ fight.
Earlier, the Hearts had been in trouble early after the Hinds' young Rosemary Mair (2-20, above) led the pace attack impressively, none of the top five reaching double figures. However, at 14 for five Huddleston and Kelly began resurrecting the innings for the visitors.
Huddleston (55*) and Kelly (30) put on 90 for the sixth wicket, both managing to go at a tick under a run-a-ball in clearly tough circumstances.
Huddleston in particular showed her power in finding the fence five times in her half century while Kelly was an excellent foil for her senior teammate. Their partnership was broken in the final over but the low tally would prove just enough.
Taranaki teenager Taila Hurley made her debut in the match for the Central Hinds, who are missing injured regulars Hannah Rowe and Mikaela Greig; and in the coming two Hallyburton Johnstone Shield one-dayers over the weekend at the same venue is in line to follow in her mother's footsteps by gaining her first one-day cap for the side.