ROUND 7 of 10
AUCKLAND HEARTS defeated CENTRAL HINDS by 8 wickets
Colin Maiden Park | Auckland
1 February 2020
Both sides still in contention for the Final, this was a huge one for a new-look Auckland Hearts side against the under pressure defending champions from Central New Zealand.
A gritty effort on a hot day in the field and a record-equalling third-wicket stand between new skipper Regina Lili'i and allrounder Arlene Kelly were the difference for the hosts at a sweltering Colin Maiden Park.
After captain Lili'i won the toss, the bowlers were made to toil early as Jess Watkin (60) and Natalie Dodd (35) batted through the first hour.
At drinks, the Hinds openers were 82 for no loss, but a middle order collapse was about to change the complexion of the innings.
Bella Armstrong executed her change of pace, getting the ball to sneak under the bat of Watkin on 60. The Hearts had an opening and fought back through a direct hit runout by wicketkeeper Tariel Lamb before spinners Jane Barnett, on debut, and Fran Jonas came into play.
Barnett (below) flighted the ball bravely and was rewarded with her first wicket in her second over. It was a big one, too, with Hinds skipper Anlo van Deventer chipping a simple chance to Kelly in the covers.
The Hearts were on a roll and Jonas (2-25) got in on the act later in her 10-over spell that built good pressure. Izzy Gaze took a sharp catch at midwicket before Jonas herself snaffled a low return chance that could have gone either way.
At 124 for five, the Hinds’ lower middle-order of Hannah Rowe (28), Melissa Hansen, Mikaela Greig, Esther Lanser and Monique Rees showed great resolve as the Hearts threatened to bowl them out, ex-Manawatu player Barnett finishing with an impressive 3-35 as the Hinds reached 217/8 with an unbeaten 36-stand for the ninth wicket.
In reply, Saachi Shahri and Gemma Adams took their time to set the Hearts foundation that Lili'i and Kelly would later build on. Adams fell victim to a calling mix-up, ending the opening stand at 48. When Shahri fell three short of a fifty, skipper Lili'i joined Kelly at the crease.
The experienced duo did the rest, putting on a record third-wicket partnership for the Hearts: an unbeaten 151 from 180 balls. The pair equalled the record stand set by Rebecca Rolls and Ingrid Cronin-Knight in 2006/07 with the winning run.
Kelly was the more aggressive of the two, hitting 13 fours on her way to a maiden Women's List A fifty. The allrounder, promoted to three, breezed past her previous best List A score of 37 as Regina Lili'i took her time to get into her knock.
The Hinds put pressure on the pair in the early stages of the partnership but Kelly raced towards her 93* from 108 balls, while Lilii’s patience took her to 47* from 73 deliveries as the hosts claimed a crucial seven-wicket win with 28 balls to spare, despite missing four WHITE FERNS.