Central Hinds 106-8 in 20 overs (Hannah Rowe 32, Anna Peterson 2-16) lost to Auckland Hearts 108-6 in 19.2 overs (Holly Huddleston 25, Regina Lill'i 19, Rosemary Mair 2-18) by four wickets at Pukekura Park, New Plymouth.
A 49 run partnership between Regina Lili'i and Holly Huddleston was the difference between the Auckland Hearts and Central Hinds in this low-scoring but enthralling match. The visitors backed up a strong performance in the field to make the winning total in a tense finish with only four balls to spare, and return to the top of the BK Super Smash table.
The Hearts came out hard in the field, determined to take every chance to come their way - they were able to make it tough for the Hinds' batters to settle, and let pressure lead to regular wickets.
"We did very well in the field - we only had two extras, one was my very high bouncer! These are really good wickets so we understood we would be hit for a couple of fours but it was keeping to our plans and keeping it really simple. We kept it in tight channels which kept a lot of pressure on them to get a score," said the Hearts' Holly Huddleston.
Emily Cunningham went in the first over, caught by Katie Perkins from Bella Amrstrong's bowling - all the Hinds top order made starts but couldn't push through to a really competitive total. Hannah Rowe top scored with 32 from 34, but was only able to hit two boundaries, with the slow outfield hampering the run rate. She eventually went to Holly Huddleston hitting high down the ground, where Regina Lili'i hung on.
Wickets tumbled at the end of the innings, with Anna Peterson (2-16) and Arlene Kelly (2-21) getting the rewards as the Hinds got through to 106-8 in their twenty overs.
The Hearts top order failed to fire until Huddleston and Lill'i got together. The pair made 49 runs between them and showed that running ones and twos hard and rotating the strike regularly was the way to approach batting at Pukekura Park today. They were prepared to put bad balls away, but stuck to their game plan for the most part, and made the most of the chances they were given in the field.
"We just wanted to put the bad balls away and create a partnership and take the ball as it came. We knew the bad balls would come and we could start to put the pressure on them," said Huddleston.
Huddleston eventually went for 25, followed by Lill'i for 19, promoting big tension on the Hearts bench. Unfortunately, some untimely wides from the Hinds in the death overs helped relieve the pressure and Kelly and Armstrong were able to finish the job.