Three of the country’s Hallyburton Johnstone Shield captains scored centuries as the 10-round national one-day competition entered the back straight of its season, but only two would walk off the park with a win as former leaders the Central Hinds suffered their first defeat of the season.
Despite a maiden century to Hinds captain Anlo van Deventer (100*), opposing Canterbury Magicians captain Frances Mackay was too good at Hagley Oval, extending her centuries record for the Magicians with another match-winning ton, her 140 just five runs short her career best.
The match went into the final over with the scores tied, but the Hinds couldn’t stop the Magicians from scoring the one further run they needed for victory.
Meanwhile, the Auckland Hearts had already brushed aside the Otago Sparks after having bowled first in a rain-reduced match in Dunedin, the unbeaten defending champions now usurping the Hinds with a four-run lead at the top of the table.
In Hamilton, Wellington Blaze captain Liz Perry meanwhile scored her first domestic one-day century since 2011/12, just the second of her career, in a comprehensive victory over a still winless Northern Spirit.
Only the top two teams will proceed to the Grand Final at the conclusion of 10 rounds.
Central Hinds 251/8 (A van Deventer 100, JA Simmons 2-33) lost to Canterbury Magicians 252/3 (FL Mackay 140, KE Baxter 1-32) by 7 wickets.
Otago Sparks 107/10 (LM Kasperek 34, AN Kelly 2-11) lost to Auckland Hearts 110/2 (ML Green 52*, LM Kasperek 2-22) by 8 wickets.
Wellington Blaze 285/5 (EC Perry 114, E Baker 1-21) beat Northern Spirit 181/9 (KG Anderson 68, AC Kerr 3-17) by 104 runs.