Career best bowling for Ashtuti Kumar | Images: MBUTCHER

Phyrric victory at Pukekura

2020/21

ROUND 10

Central Hinds beat Northern Districts by 13 runs

Pukekura Park, New Plymouth

14 March 2021

SCORES

Both the Central Hinds and Northern Spirit teams headed into the final round of the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield season with a chance of making the 2021 Grand Final - but it all depended on what happened further north, between the Canterbury Magicians and Auckland Hearts.

Northern had needed to back up with another big bonus point win to have a mathematical chance of advancing, while the Hinds just needed to win - and for the Magicians to beat the Hearts, as they had on the previous day.

When the Magicians failed in their run chase by just 10 runs, the Hinds were left with a phyrric victory at Pukekura, missing out on the Final by a one-point whisker.

As on the previous day, Northern captain Brooke Halliday won the toss and sent the Hinds in, but the Hinds got off to a better start this time around, Jess Watkin and Georgia Atkinson (moving up for Emily Cunningham, who sat this one out with a niggle) sharing a 38-run opening stand.

A fired-up Watkin put a dent in a rental van with one of her two sixes as she raced out to 27 off 20 balls, but her departure at the end of the sixth over was again a big breakthrough for the visitors, and the start of a career-best 3-36 for 18-year-old Bay of Plenty spinner Patel.

She soon had Hinds captain Anlo van Deventer cheaply too, and with no Natalie Dodd in the side - and Kerry Tomlinson struggling to back up her half century on the previous day, at 62/3 the Hinds looked vulnerable despite the fast start.

Like Patel, another 18-year-old ND spinner in Templeton was also en route to a career-best performance with the ball - and just like Patel, she would finish with 3-36. Charlotte Sarsfied also had a good day with 3-31 off her 10.

After having Tomlinson caught for 5, Templeton trapped Mikaela Greig for no score, and later broke Hannah Rowe and Kate Gaging's 28-run stand for the sixth wicket with the young Gaging trapped as well.

Rowe's experience (stepping into the side after her return from injury) became key to ensuring the Hinds posted a defendable total, and she was joined by fellow WHITE FERN Rosemary Mair (27) in a 39-run stand for the following wicket as the pair steadied the innings for nine overs.

Rowe reached 43 and the Hinds reached 166, but will have been collectively disappointed to again be bowled out without chewing through all their overs - and this time with almost five and a half overs unused.

Claudia Green and Mair once again opened the attack together and ND looked to take the same measured approach at the start of the innings as the previous day against them.

Katie Gurrey and Felicity Leydon-Davis found the boundary just once between them in the first six overs, but there was hardly cause for panic chasing a total on the short side.

When Leydon-Davis became a casualty to Green early, Gurrey recombined with Kate Anderson and the typically aggressive pair lifted the tempo.

At 40/1 in the 10th over the chase was well on track, but when Hannah Rowe trapped Anderson with just her fourth delivery, and then spinner Ashtuti Kumar had a maiden one-day wicket in Templeton, caught by Mair a couple of overs later, the wheels began to wobble a little.

Teenager Kumar was about to have a big influence on the result of the match. She kept things tight bowling in tandem with Rowe and then Jess Watkin, but Gurrey and Nensi Patel made themselves difficult to dislodge.

At the midpoint of the innings ND was 97/4 when suddenly the big wicket of Gurrey fell, caught off legspinner Georgia Atkinson when she was just seven runs short of a half ton.

That brought WHITE FERN Brooke Halliday to the crease but she lasted just three and a half overs before she was run out off another tight Kumar over, then veteran Eimear Richardson was gone, too, off Kumar's next over, the 31st: caught and bowled for just 2 with the Sprit now vulnerable at 118/6.

Five balls later, Mair had Lucy Boucher caught behind and the unravelling was gathering pace.

Just four balls after that, Kumar has her third with keeper/batsman Olivia Lobb caught by Anlo van Deventer at 120/8, still 46 runs shy of the target.

Through all this the diminutive young Patel had played a gutsy knock, looking better and better as she went on. She kept her side in the game, forming a 20-run stand for the ninth with Naidu - but when Naidu was run out by a slick piece of work from Kerry Tomlinson to wicketkeeper Gaging, the visitors were down to the last woman.

Melissa Hansen sealed the 13-run victory for the Hinds with the dismissal of Sarsfield, leaving Patel on an unbeaten 53*, but by then both camps were well aware that the Hearts had won in Auckland: Game Over.

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