On day three of the cricket Express National U15 Girls Tournament in Whanganui Auckland Under-15 Girls’ team faced the other unbeaten team from Christchurch and Northern Districts in the afternoon.
Due to overnight rain, the start of play was delayed and both matches became T20s. In the first game Christchurch won toss and decided to bat.
The Christchurch openers smashed three boundaries in the opening over to set an aggressive tone. Spinner Frances Jonas responded in the next over with a beautiful piece of bowling and Izzy Gaze completed a slick stumping.
Christchurch continued to play aggressively, with a 27 run second wicket partnership. This was broken by a great catch by Luncinda Hollister off the bowling of Anna Browning, and Christchurch were 39/2. From there Auckland started a steady flow of and wickets and Christchurch all out for 88 in the 18th over. Browning and Emma Irwin both took three wickets and Jonas picked up two.
Auckland started their chase steadily until Shivani Unka was run out in the third over. This brought captain Browning and vice-captain Irwin together. They batted well to bring the score to 61 in the 12th over when Browning retired on 40 off 42. Gaze came to the wicket, where she hit a quick-fire 15 off 9 to help Auckland reach 89 runs in the sixteenth over to win by eight wickets and secure a place in the final.
In the second game, Northern Districts won the toss and decided to bat. The ND openers started steadily reaching 26/2 after seeing off Auckland opening bowlers Illing and Jonas. Auckland’s other bowlers stepped up to take wickets without giving away runs, removing ND for 85. The bowling figures were impressive, Irwin took 3-15, Issy Gerrand 2-2 and Browning 2-12. In all five matches, Auckland had bowled out their opposition.
Auckland opened with Gaze and Unka, who scored 18 off 14before Gaze was caught. Irwin and Hollister steadied the ship at 46/2 before Irwin retired on 39 from 35. Hollister was unbeaten on 10 when Auckland reached the target in the sixteenth over.
Auckland is currently playing Christchurch in the final this morning.