Patel, Huddleston, Perkins help Auckland Hearts to easy win over Northern Spirit

Katie Perkins of Auckland Hearts in action. © White Ferns

A steady knock of an unbeaten 52 off 48 balls by Katie Perkins saw Auckland Hearts chase the 98-run target set by Northern Spirit in the Super Smash clash at the Eden Park Outer Oval in Auckland on Sunday (January 17).

The defence didn’t begin all that badly for Spirit. Off-spinner Nensi Patel began in right earnest, getting rid of Lauren Down for four on the third ball of the chase and Bella Armstrong (zero) a couple of balls later to have Hearts at two down for five in the first over. Saachi Shahri would soon be Patel’s third victim three overs later.

But a responsible knock by Perkins, playing her 200th game for Auckland, assisted by Holly Huddleston, took Hearts to safety. The pair added 79 runs for the fourth wicket and the key element of the alliance was the running between the wickets. The partnership saw only four fours been hit – all off Perkins’ blade – and culminated with Huddleston’s dismissal for 25 with the score on 96.

Aptly, Perkins finished the chase with a four to seal the deal and help Hearts pocket four points to move second in the ladder. Patel finished with three for 19 in her four overs.

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Earlier, Spirit’s choice to bat first at the toss seemed to backfire as they were reduced to three for six in the first eight balls of the game. Arlene Kelly got rid of Kate Anderson (one) before Huddleston dismissed Brooke Halliday (one) and Eimear Richardson (zero) off successive deliveries.

Katie Gurrey (28) and Felicity Leydon-Davis (25) then added 55 for the fourth wicket, which was the only significant partnership in the innings, before Jesse Prasad broke through. Spirit could eventually crawl to 97 for 9 in their 20 overs, with both Huddleston and Prasad returning three wickets each.

Brief Scores: Northern Spirit 97/9 in 20 overs (Katie Gurrey 28, Felicity Leydon-Davis 25; Holly Huddleston 3/14, Jesse Prasad 3/19) lost to Auckland Hearts 100/4 in 17.4 overs (Katie Perkins 52*; Nensi Patel 3/19) by six wickets.

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