26 Jun, Sunday

Hearts qualify for HBJ Shield final with victory over Hinds


Hearts qualify for HBJ Shield final with victory over Hinds

Praneel HiraHearts

The Auckland Hearts defeated the Central Hinds to register a seventh straight victory in the Hallyburton Johnstone Trophy at Melville Park today. The commanding five-wicket win consolidates the Hearts’ position atop the table with three rounds remaining.

On a new wicket, the Hearts bowled first and Hinds’ opener Jess Watkin wasted little time in finding the boundary. Watkin hit eight boundaries in a 23-ball stay before Holly Huddleston checked a fast Hinds’ start. Watkin took on the short ball and picked out fine leg. Huddleston disturbed some timber an over later and the Hearts were back in control.

From there, it was the Natalie Dodd show. The Hinds’ wicketkeeper played patiently in her 100th List A appearance, but the Hearts were able to make regular breakthroughs stifling the Hinds’ middle order. Roz McNeill and Skye Bowden built pressure through disciplined spells into the stiff Melville breeze. Huddleston, meanwhile, returned at the death to pick up a pair of late wickets in a late bid for the match-ball.

With the innings winding down, the scriptwriters were busy typing away. Entering the final over on 97, Dodd nudged two into a gap in the leg-side before flicking a full toss past a wide fine leg for four. It brought up a deserved eighth ton and one that kept the Hinds in the match with 205/8 on the board.

Anna Peterson took the game on after the Hinds’ struck early and, with Skipper Maddy Green, set the foundation for a comfortable chase. The pair added a scene-setting 96 for the second wicket including a combined 11 boundaries. When Hannah Rowe removed both set players in an extended spell, Katie Perkins came to the crease.

Perkins soaked up the pressure built by Rowe before showing her array of strokes – flicks, scoops, guides and drives. With victory in sight, Perkins confidently raced past fifty and then finished the match in style with a six and a single.

The Hearts will play the Hinds again in round eight of the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield at Melville Park tomorrow from 10:00am.

Central Hinds 205/8 (N Dodd 103, J Watkin 34; H Huddleston 4-44, R McNeill 2-38) lost to Auckland Hearts 206/5 (K Perkins 62*, A Peterson 54; H Rowe 2-30, R Mair 2-51) by five wickets.

Full scorecard here.