Round One • 24 November 2017
Auckland Hearts v Otago Sparks at Melville Park, Auckland
The Auckland Hearts opened their 2017/18 season at their home of Melville Park against defending T20 champions the Otago Sparks, but it was quickly clear that last season's slate was clean.
Sparks captain Suzie Bates won the toss and sent her hosts in on a warm afternoon, but fellow WHITE FERN Anna Peterson, continuing her newfound role at the top of the order, looked in great touch scoring a quickfire 24 to get the Hearts off to a good start.
Taking over the reins from the retired Vic Lind, new Hearts captain Maddy Green picked up the good work at first drop, scoring 28 runs in a competitive 120 for seven.
Bates would run Green out at the death, and had been the most successful of her attack with 2-18 off her four overs and a hand in a second run-out, but the Hearts were in with a decent sniff at the innings break.
Arlene Kelly delivered a top opening spell, removing both openers, dangerwoman Bates included, to have the Sparks 22 for two in the seventh. With 2-12 off her four overs, the Hearts were right on top, while for the southerners it was over to Morna Nielsen.
Nielsen provided some resistance with a run-a-ball 20, however when she was dismissed and with the run rate climbing, it was quickly becoming a tough ask for the Sparks.
Young Bella Armstrong turned the game in the Hearts' favour with a double strike in the 12th over to put the Hearts firmly in the driver’s seat, the Sparks bowled out for 89 to fall short by 31 runs .
The two teams now meet in Rounds One and Two of the Halleyburton Johnstone Shield (One-Day) at the same venue over the weekend; entry to all women’s domestic cricket is free.