The Central Hinds got their trip to Oamaru off to the perfect start by upending their hosts the Otago Sparks to the tune of five wickets at Centennial Park.
The round-five NZC Women’s Twenty20 win promotes the young Hinds to third on the table after WHITE FERN Hannah Rowe, playing as a batsman only in this weekend’s matches, smashed the winning run with seven balls to spare.
Just one delivery earlier, debutante Georgia Heffernan’s wide had levelled the scores, dashing the Sparks’ increasingly faint hopes of a reprieve — the Central visitors having lost quick wickets and running at just a couple of singles per over as the chase reached the pointy end.
However, it was having posted 88 for seven after being sent in and then having bowled 20 extras in all that had really put the home hosts on the back foot in this one.
Wickets began clattering in the fourth over as no player reached more than 18, while the wickets were shared around a Central attack that went from strength to strength despite vice-captain Rowe’s absence from it.
Rowe has missed the previous rounds in her home territory of Manawatu with a redislocated finger, while Otago’s Georgia Heffernan — twin sister of tall pace bowler Kate — was making her debut after finally coming right from an ankle issue.
Heffernan grabbed two maiden wickets with the ball but the Sparks sorely missed the experience of their international stars and captains Suzie Bates and Katey Martin, both across the Tasman playing in Australia’s WBBL.
Jess Watkin’s confident run-a-ball 22 got the Hinds’ chase off to a flier and from there they stayed ahead of the game until Rowe and Melissa Hansen brought it home.
The teams now face off again at the same venue in this weekend's one-day Hallyburton Johnstone Shield doubleheader.