26 Jun, Sunday

HEARTS claim first win of 2020/21


HEARTS claim first win of 2020/21

Praneel HiraHearts

The Auckland HEARTS are off the mark in 2020/21 with an eight-wicket Hallyburton Johnstone Shield win over the Otago Sparks in Invercargill.

The visitors were greeted with a wet start as rain delayed the toss for close to five hours. When play finally got underway, the match had been reduced to 24 overs per side.

In the second over, HEARTS opening bowler Molly Penfold nabbed the first Sparks wicket trapping Gemma Adams in front. Milly Cowan and Caitlin Blakely then pounced on several scoring opportunities to race the score out to 31/1 at the end of the four-over powerplay.

Skipper Lauren Down then turned to Jesse Prasad, who started her spell with a maiden. In Prasad’s next over, the seamer bowled Cowan to break the promising second-wicket stand before leg-spinner Jane Barnett marked her first bowl of the season with the wicket of Bella James in the 13th over. Once the HEARTS seized control, they never looked back.

Fran Jonas followed up five tidy overs through the middle by combining for a run-out with wicketkeeper Tariel Lamb to end a dangerous knock by Polly Inglis, while Blakely (44*) hit 6 fours to help the Sparks post a total of 116/5. Prasad’s impressive day with the ball was underlined by some fine death bowling with the HEARTS seamer finishing with figures of 2-12 from her five overs.

In reply, Down and allrounder Bella Armstrong led the way with the bat in what turned out to be a rather simple chase. The early wicket of Saachi Shahri could have made the HEARTS tread with caution, but the pair were at their fluent best during their second-wicket stand of 63 off 59 balls.

Down finished with 40 off 34, while Armstrong remained unbeaten with a career-best 62*, her maiden List-A fifty. Last summer’s leading Hallyburton Johnstone Shield wicket-taker took her time to start before going through the gears, hitting 9 fours and a six to seal the HEARTS a bonus-point victory.

The HEARTS and Sparks are back at Queen’s Park tomorrow for Round Four of the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield.