Daz Mitchell dazzled at the death | PHOTOSPORT

Royal performance from Kings, Hearts go top

The Auckland Hearts are the new leaders of the women’s Dream11 Super Smash after a sizzling 3-8 from WHITE FERN Holly Huddleston.

The pace weapon wrapped up the Canterbury Magicians’ chase in a flash with the final two wickets from the first two balls of her final over, after the hosts at Hagley had tried to run down the Hearts’ 138 for four.

Huddleston’s figures were her best yet for the Hearts in T20s, while young teammate Bella Armstrong (39 off 29) produced her career-best batting after the visitors won the toss and batted.

Armstrong and WHITE FERNS opener Lauren Down shared a pivotal 63-run stand for the third wicket before a brilliant deflection from Frankie Mackay off her own bowling ran out Down on 33 in the 14th.

It stemmed certain damage, but was negated when Mackay herself became a big early wicket for Anna Peterson in the chase. Once the Hearts broke a third-wicket stand of 58 between veteran stars Amy Satterthwaite (32) and Kate Ebrahim (31), they chipped out the rest of the order cheaply to defend their tally by 20 runs.

The Hearts’ third victory from five games (one washout included) pushes them two points ahead of defending champions Wellington Blaze, who are three from four.

The Auckland Aces headed into the evening fixture under lights still looking for their first win in their fifth game, after four straight losses. It wasn't their lucky night.

Restricting the Canterbury Kings to 154/6 gave them a shot, Ross ter Braak claiming the big wicket of BLACKCAP Daryl Mitchell for just 13 at the midway mark, but the Kings hit back by removing two big wickets early, BLACKCAPS white-ball powerhouses Martin Guptill and Glenn Phillips both gone at 20/2 in the third.

Sean Solia (55 off 42) and the flourishing Will O’Donnell (50* off 44) got the Aces back on track, Solia producing his second T20 fifty this season - after none from his previous four summers - while O’Donnell would finish unbeaten with his maiden T20 half century, continuing his strong Ford Trophy form this season.

But it all turned pear-shaped at the death thanks to the Kings' tight finish with the ball. The Aces needed 49 off 27 as the gutsy keeper-batsman Ben Horne came in at six, but pinpoint line and length from deathman Will Williams ensured he didn’t get a quick start.

Thirty-one was still needed from the last two overs and Horne belted 27 off 16 to leave the Aces needing eight runs from three balls.

But the invaluable Mitchell bowled Horne on the penultimate ball of the game to leave the Aces - last year’s league runner-up - empty-handed this season yet again.

The tight 6-run win took the Canterbury Kings to three wins from four games as they bounced back from last night's loss to the Stags at the same venue.