Turning out for Auckland Hearts, Armstrong, bowling second change, broke the back of Otago Sparks’ batting at Melville Park, picking up her maiden fifer. Thanks to her spell, where she finished with seven wickets for just 18 runs in nine overs, the Sparks were bowled out for 74. Hearts chased it down inside 15 overs. In what was a record-breaking match, 20-year-old Tariel Lamb, the wicket-keeper, pouched five catches, equalling the record for Auckland in the competition.
Meanwhile, Northern Spirit emerged victorious against Central Hinds in their clash at Bay Oval. Thanks to Bernadine Bezuidenhout’s 96, Spirit posted 299 for five in their quota of 50 overs. She hit nine fours in a knock that took 107 balls. After her departure, though, Spirit scored 91 in under 12 overs, thanks to a quick 53-run stand between Eimear Richardson (33) and Kate Anderson (31).
Jess Watkins and Melissa Hansen picked up two wickets each for Hinds, though Watkins bled 72 runs in her 10 overs.
In reply, Hinds lost wickets at regular intervals before Kerry-Anne Tomlinson (44) and Hannah Rowe (45) added 87 for the fourth wicket. But once the duo fell in quick succession, the writing was on the wall. Richardson picked up three wickets with the ball for Spirit. It was the defending champions’ first loss in the season after three wins and a wash out.
In the third clash of the day, Magicians made it home in a last-ball chase against Wellington Blaze at Basin Reserve. Riding on skipper Leigh Kasperek’s 75 off 112 balls and her 92-run partnership with Maneka Singh (47 not out), Blaze posted 232 runs in their 50 overs for the loss of seven wickets. It was a good recovery from a precarious six for 114 that they found themselves in, thanks to a triple strike by Sarah Asmussen.
In reply, Frances Mackay, the captain of Magicians, made 115, stitching together 129 runs with Natalie Cox, who made 65. However, thanks to crucial strikes in the middle by Kasperek and Jess Kerr, they were left needing 14 off the final over.
In the second ball of that over bowled by Kasperek, Mackay was run out. However, Sullivan (12 not out) hit a four, followed by a double and a maximum to seal the deal for the Magicians.
Otago Sparks 74 all out in 32.2 overs (Hayley Jensen 17; Bella Armstrong 7/18) lost to Auckland Hearts 74/2 in 14.2 overs (Saachi Shahri 35*) by eight wickets.
Northern Spirit 299/5 in 50 overs (Bernadine Bezuidenhout 96, Felicity Leydon-Davis 41; Melissa Hansen 2/50, Jess Watkins 2/72) beat Central Hinds 229/9 in 45 overs (Hannah Rowe 45, Kerry-Anne Tomlinson 44; Eimear Richardson 3/49) by 53 runs via DLS method.
Wellington Blaze 232/7 in 50 overs (Leigh Kasperek 75, Maneka Singh 47*; Sarah Asmussen 3/58) lost to Canterbury Magicians 233/7 in 50 overs (Frances Mackay 115, Natalie Cox 65; Leigh Kasperek 3/56, Jess Kerr 2/40) by three wickets.