Down, Huddleston star in bonus-point win over Blaze

Hearts


Down, Huddleston star in bonus-point win over Blaze

Praneel HiraHearts

Wellington Blaze vs. Auckland HEARTS | HEARTS win by eight wickets

The HEARTS have moved into first-equal on the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield table after a second bonus-point win over the Wellington Blaze this weekend.

Chasing 201, skipper Lauren Down and all-rounder Arlene Kelly led the way with a record second-wicket stand of 180 runs, surpassing their own record set in last year’s HBJ Final against Northern Districts.

The pair came together in the first over and batted the HEARTS into a dominant position. Down again found the boundary regularly, hitting 11 fours on her way to an unbeaten 104 off 124 balls, her second HBJ Shield century.

Kelly proved the perfect foil, patiently working her way into her innings and finishing with 65 off 102 balls. There was little left to do when Kelly was stumped with the score at 180 other than for Down to bring up her century. The winning runs came soon after in the 40th over.

Earlier, Holly Huddleston played a major role in pegging back a reasonable Blaze start during the opening ten overs. The leader of the attack picked up the first three Blaze wickets as the hosts slipped from 45/0 to 50/3.

Anna Peterson (2-27) then tied the Blaze down. The wicket of Georgia Plimmer was the all-rounder’s reward, but the HEARTS were still being held up by Jess McFadyen. The Blaze wicketkeeper continued her stellar HBJ Shield campaign with 52, before the HEARTS hit back again.

Molly Penfold, Jesse Prasad and Bella Armstrong all chimed in with wickets before Huddleston (4-29) returned for her fourth wicket. The Blaze kept fighting towards the end of their 50 overs with Xara Jetly (30) and Beth Molony (31) lifting their total to 200 all out on the final ball of the inning.

It proved not to be enough for the HEARTS, who next host the Canterbury Magicians on 13 / 14 March to close out the round-robin.

Image credit: PhotoSport NZ