The HEARTS have stormed into the Dream11 Super Smash final courtesy of an outstanding fielding effort and a dominant opening stand by Anna Peterson and Lauren Down.
Chasing 121, the skipper led the way. After Down received a bit of luck first ball when her leading-edge landed in between two fielders, the boundaries flowed. Down found space on the off-side for back-to-back boundaries before Peterson took over.
19 runs came from the third over as Peterson hit a high-full toss over the square-leg boundary. The HEARTS never looked back as 66 runs came from the powerplay and 90 came from the first ten overs. Both players had periods of dominance as the partnership took the match away from the Sparks.
With the Sparks at the HEARTS mercy, Down (33) picked out Suzie Bates at mid-off in the 11th over. Peterson lost Katie Perkins in the lead-up to 100, but the bulk of the work had been done. Despite a few wobbles and the late wickets of Regina Lilii, Bella Armstrong and Saachi Shahri, the HEARTS remained in front in the game courtesy of Peterson’s 41-ball fifty.
Appropriately, Peterson (57*) picked off the winning single on the on-side to book the HEARTS Grand Final ticket.
Earlier, Regina Lilii needed no second invitation to give the HEARTS an early boost and cut short a promising opening stand between Millie Cowan and Suzie Bates. Holly Huddleston dug in a short ball to Bates, who pulled firmly into the leg-side. Lilii sprinted, then slid towards the ball, holding on to an important catch in the 4th over.
Peterson, bowling her off-spinners, benefitted from Cowan’s aggressive push to keep the ball rolling in the HEARTS favour before Armstrong hit the crease. The HEARTS maintained their composure and the pressure started to build.
Armstrong bowled tidily through the middle overs and the wicket of Katey Martin, bowled by an inswinging yorker in the 9th over, was excellent reward for a pressing unchanged spell from the Sandringham end.
While the Sparks targeted Fran Jonas at the other end, the left-arm spinner continued to toss the ball up into the 15th over. Both spinners finished with figures of 1-24 as all the HEARTS bowlers were well-supported in the field, reducing the Sparks opportunities to turn ones into twos.
On her return to the attack at the death, Huddleston claimed the wicket of Hannah Darlington with a well-delivered slower ball. Hayley Jensen (41*), however, remained a threat as the HEARTS had eyes on shutting down the Sparks innings. Sophie Gray then hit 10 off 5 balls to lift the Sparks to 120/7.