The HEARTS have completed a commanding eight-wicket win over the Central Hinds courtesy of a gritty effort in the field and a record-equalling third-wicket stand between skipper Regina Lilii and allrounder Arlene Kelly at Colin Maiden Park.
After captain Lilii won the toss, the HEARTS’ bowlers were made to toil early on as Jess Watkin and Natalie Dodd batted through the first hour. At drinks, the Hinds’ openers had taken the score to 82/0 after 18 overs.
The HEARTS stuck at their task in the heat. Bella Armstrong executed her change of pace, getting the ball to sneak under the bat of Watkin (60). The HEARTS had an opening and fought back through a direct-hit run out by wicketkeeper Tariel Lamb before spinners Jane Barnett and Fran Jonas came into play.
Barnett, on debut, flighted the ball bravely and was rewarded with her first wicket in her second over. It was a big one too, with Hinds’ skipper Anlo van Deventer chipping a simple chance to Arlene Kelly in the covers.
The HEARTS were on a roll; Jonas got in on the act late in her ten over spell. Having built pressure throughout, Jonas (2-25) claimed wickets in her 8th and 10th overs. First Izzy Gaze took a sharp catch at mid-wicket before Jonas snaffled a low return chance.
At 124/5, Lilii continued to attack. The Hinds’ lower middle-order showed great resolve as the HEARTS threatened to bowl the visitors out. Kelly and Lamb combined for the HEARTS sixth before Barnett (3-35) picked up her second and third scalps to complete a fine debut.
The Hinds finished with 217/8 after Melissa Hansen (17*) and Monique Rees (21*) put on an unbeaten 36 for the ninth wicket.
In reply, Saachi Shahri and Gemma Adams took their time to set the HEARTS a foundation that Lilii and Kelly would later build on. In the 13th over, Adams fell victim to a mix-up between the wickets, ending the opening stand at 48. When Shahri fell three short of fifty, skipper Lilii joined Kelly at the crease.
The experienced duo, ultimately, did the rest putting on a record third-wicket partnership for the HEARTS, adding an unbeaten 151 from 180 balls. In hitting the winning run, the pair equalled the record stand set by Rebecca Rolls and Ingrid Cronin-Knight in 2006/07.
Kelly was the more aggressive of the two, hitting 13 fours on her way to a first List-A fifty. The all-rounder, promoted to three, breezed past her previous best List A score of 37 as Regina Lilii took her time to get into her knock.
The Hinds’ put pressure on the pair in the early stages of the partnership, but eventually the pair would put the HEARTS on top. Kelly raced towards a deserved hundred to finish on 93* from 108 balls, while Lilii’s patience took her to 47* from 73 deliveries as the HEARTS claimed a crucial seven-wicket win with 28 balls to spare.