The three women’s Dream11 Super Smash finalists have been found for 2020/21 after the Auckland Hearts knocked Northern Spirit out of contention at Seddon Park this evening.
The Hearts join defending champions Wellington Blaze and the Canterbury Magicians as qualifiers for this season’s Finals - but who will gain direct entry to the 13 February Grand Final, and which two teams will be left to face off in the sudden death Elimination Final two days earlier, is yet to be determined.
With two rounds in the regular season still to come for the three qualifiers, Blaze holds a slender two-point lead over both the Hearts and Magicians, with the latter two sides having shared the four points per match for an abandonment early in their campaigns.
As it currently stands, that means Blaze still needs to win both their remaining matches to be assured of qualifying top — and the last of those encounters will be a big away game to the Hearts.
After a promising start to their T20 season, Northern Spirit’s hopes ended with a thud in their fifth consecutive loss, having lost regular wickets after electing to bat first under the Seddon Park lights.
A total of 108 for seven was always going to be tough to defend against the strong Hearts side who bounced back from a shock nine-wicket loss to the Central Hinds with a six-wicket win in Hamilton, spearheaded by veteran Katie Perkins’ 45 and an unbeaten 29* from fellow WHITE FERN Holly Huddleston at the death.
Huddleston and Regina Lili'i brought it home with almost two overs to spare, chasing down the Spirit's 108 for seven after Auckland's bowlers had turned on a tight collective performance with the ball.