The HEARTS have maintained their perfect Dream11 Super Smash start with a clinical 31-run victory over the Northern Spirit in Hamilton.
Skipper Anna Peterson shook off losing the toss by taking four boundaries from the first two overs. The HEARTS early onslaught started with a sweep before twice accessing the cover boundary.
When Lauren Down finally saw some strike, the experienced opener made up for lost time splitting the two Spirit fielders at point. Down then advanced at Carolyn Esterhuizen to hit the HEARTS first six over long-on.
The HEARTS opening pair raced out to 54/0 as the Spirits rotated through their various bowling options. Both players committed to keeping the momentum and Down, in particular, wasn’t afraid to take the aerial route.
On 33, it would prove Down’s undoing, however, as the opener picked out Kate Anderson at long-on. Peterson continued on her merry way going to fifty from 38 balls with an empathic six over the leg-side off Lauren Heaps. The HEART hundred came up when Peterson made some room over the off-side, but Heaps would get her revenge.
Heaps began to slow the HEARTS down and she was rewarded with the wickets of Saachi Shahri and Holly Huddleston from consecutive deliveries. Bella Armstrong then added some impetus for the visitors, but it was Katie Perkins who held the key.
Perkins took her time to get going and found an ally in Arlene Kelly. Despite only hitting two boundaries, the pair ran well and were able to take 31 runs from the final 17 deliveries as the HEARTS posted 167/5.
Kelly and Huddleston looked back at their best early on with the ball. The in-form Katie Gurrey decided to take Kelly on in the third over and the ploy paid off as the Spirit opener found some space wide of mid-on. Just when it looked like Gurrey had found the gap for a third time, Huddleston dived full length to her right and snaffled a contender for catch of the season.
It didn’t take long for Huddleston to return to the action when Bernadine Bezuidenhout’s heave looped into the air. Huddleston ran in from the boundary and snaffled another fantastic catch. Felicity Leydon-Davis came to the crease with her side needing something special from her. The skipper combined with Anderson for 40 runs, but the HEARTS were putting in a solid shift in the field.
Fran Jonas was introduced to the attack and the left-arm spinner again showed her full set of skills. It was another unchanged spell for Jonas who bowled both Leydon-Davis and Brooke Halliday as the HEARTS made crucial inroads.
Peterson then backed up the work of her young spin partner with a pair of wickets of her own. Kelly and Huddleston returned at the death to complete an excellent outing in the field as the HEARTS made it four-from-four to start the Dream11 Super Smash.
The HEARTS have a few days off before taking on the Central Hinds at Pukekura Park on December 28.