Nensi Patel's six-fer helps Northern Brave trounce Auckland Hearts in HBJ Shield

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Nensi Patel's six-fer helps Northern Brave trounce Auckland Hearts in HBJ Shield

Northern Brave in action © Getty Images

A phenomenal bowling spell from Nensi Patel and an unbeaten 188-run stand between openers Caitlin Gurrey and Samantha Curtis helped Northern Brave to ease past Auckland Hearts by ten wickets in the 29th match of the ongoing HBJ Shield at the Seddon Park in Hamilton on Saturday (February 19). Brave are now merely two points behind Otago Sparks in the points table and a win against the Hearts on Sunday will help them seal a spot in the summit clash.

Brave won the toss earlier in the day and invited Hearts to set up a score on the board. The Auckland side got off to a horrendous start as they lost their top-three batters early. Medium-pacer Shriya Naidu was too hot to handle for Hearts as she got rid of both the openers in quick succession and applied unrelenting pressure on the batting order.

But skipper Katie Perkins and batting allrounder Bella Armstrong got their act together and stitched a 101 run-stand to bail Hearts out of the crisis. Armstrong looked in excellent touch throughout the course of her knock of 63 runs from 62 balls as she hammered ten fours and took the attack to the opposition. On the other hand, Perkins relied more on strike rotation and played second fiddle to Armstrong.

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But just when it appeared that the duo would take the game away from Brave, skipper Eimear Richardson introduced Patel into the attack, who first removed Armstrong and then ended Perkins' resistance in the middle. Patel wreaked havoc on Hearts' middle order and was impeccable in terms of line and length which helped her finish with figures of six for 25 in 8.1 overs.

Chasing a target of 186 runs to win, the Northern Districts got off to the best possible start and they never let it go from there. Gurrey scored 94 off 107 balls and Curtis 77 off 102 balls respectively. The Brave openers got under the skin of the Auckland bowlers and took them to the cleaners. The Hearts' bowling attack had no answer to such a ferocious onslaught and were completely caught off guard.

Brief scores: Auckland Hearts 185/10 in 44.1 overs (Bella Armstrong 63, Katie Perkins 42; Nensi Patel 6/25) lost to Northern Brave 188/0 in 34.4 overs (Caitlin Gurrey 94*, Samantha Curtis 77*) by ten wickets.