The Hearts and the Aces had strong victories against Central Districts today. Both teams bowled first and restricted the Hinds and the Stags to scores just one run apart.
The Hearts came out hard in the field. They were able to make it tough for the Hinds’ batters to settle, with regular wickets following boundaries.
“We did very well in the field – we only had two extras, one was my very high bouncer!” said Holly Huddleston.
“These are really good wickets so we understood we would be hit for a couple of fours but we kept to our plans and kept it really simple. We bowled in tight channels, which kept a lot of pressure on them to get a score.”
All the Hinds top order made starts, but couldn’t push through to a really competitive total. Hannah Rowe top scored with 32 from 34, but was only able to hit two boundaries, with the slow outfield hampering the run rate. She eventually went to Huddleston hitting high down the ground, where Regina Lilii hung on.
Wickets tumbled at the end of the innings, with Anna Peterson (2-16) and Arlene Kelly (2-21) getting the rewards as the Hinds got through to 106/8 in their 20 overs.
The Hearts’ couldn’t quite put together a partnership until Huddleston and Lilii got together. The pair made 49 runs between them and showed that running ones and twos hard was the way to approach batting at Pukekura Park today. They put bad balls away, but stuck to their game plan for the most part, and made the most of the chances they were given in the field.
“We just wanted to put the bad balls away and create a partnership and take the ball as it came. We knew the bad balls would come and we could start to put the pressure on them,” said Huddleston.
Huddleston eventually went for 25, followed by Lilii for 19, promoting big tension on the Hearts’ bench. Ultimately, the Hinds couldn’t put ti together at the death, and Kelly along with Bella Armstrong finished the job to win by four wickets.
Having been shown how it was done, the Aces also bowled first against the Stags.
The Stags came roaring out of the gate, but were unable to maintain their early momentum. George Worker (24), Will Young (26) and Kieran Noema-Barnett (20) were the only Stags batsmen to make meaningful scores – their other seven team mates could only manage 34 between them.
Will Somerville made the transition between red ball and white ball look easy, picking up 3-28, with Matt Quinn (2-13), Lockie Ferguson (2-14) and Roneel Hira (2-28) in support, backed up by some classy fielding.
The home team were bundled out for 107 in the 18th over, a total that seemed light against a powerful batting line up – but the Aces also struggled to get into their rhythm with the bat.
It was Martin Guptill who led the charge with a determined innings, showing application and concentration to see the chase through while his partners fell all around him, to his frustration.
“I was a wee bit rusty to start with if I’m brutally honest, but it’s nice to spend some time in the middle and see the boys through to the end,” said Guptill.
“It wasn’t the kind of wicket where you can just stand and hit through the ball. You had to give yourself a bit of time, and at the end of the day it didn’t matter how many sixes we hit, just as long as we saw the game through,” he said.
In the 16th over, after getting 50, Guptill decided the time was right to make a big push. He and Hira (8*) took 17 runs from Felix Murray, then hit Seth Rance for three consecutive fours to win the match by five wickets.
The win puts the Aces second after their Christmas Eve washout, while the Stags sit fourth with a win and a loss.
The Hearts and the Aces play their next match at Eden Park Outer Oval on 1 January, taking on the Canterbury Magicians at 12:45pm, and the Kings at 4:00pm. Tickets from Ticketek.
Image Credit: Photosport.co.nz