Northern Spirit will host the HBJ Shield final in Hamilton. © stuff.co.nz/Twitter

Northern Spirit beat Auckland Hearts to earn hosting right for the final of the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield 2019-20. But Canterbury Magicians’ loss against Central Hinds meant that Hearts also made it to the final.

The Spirit versus Hearts clash was about earning the right to host the final, plus about latter’s chances of making it to the final since the former had already made it. A spirited bowling performance from the Heats at Seddon Park in Hamilton saw Spirit restricted to 193. Bella Armstrong picked up four wickets for just 18 to peg Spirit back.

A couple of thirties by Eimear Richardson (37) and Olivia Lobb (32) and then a couple of twenties by Kate Anderson (29) and Katie Gurrey (24) is all Spirit’s batters had to show after being asked to bat first. Apart from Armstrong, Jane Barnett picked up three wickets for Hearts, though she went for 55 runs in her eight overs.

In reply, Hearts were in the game only because of a 63-run third-wicket stand between Arlene Kelly (37) and Regina Lili’i. The latter also made a half century, before falling for 63 in 96 balls. But lack of contribution on either side of that stand meant that Hearts fell short by just five runs. Richardson picked up four wickets for just 44 runs.

At Pukekura Park in New Plymouth, Hinds chased down 212 to end Magicians’ campaign. Magicians began well with the bat, thanks to a humongous 177-run opening partnership between Frances Mackay and Erin Chandler. While Mackay compiled her 12th List A ton, Chandler made 57 in 121 balls before being run out.

But since then, Magicians didn’t have any significant partnerships and were kept to five for 211 in their 48 overs. Hannah Rowe picked up a couple of wickets for just 32 runs.

In reply, Jess Watkin and Natalie Dodd gave Hinds the perfect start with a 93-run alliance. The former made a fifty off just 35 balls before being cleaned up by Mackay. But Dodd stayed throughout the chase, carrying her bat and making 86 in 134 balls to ensure her team’s win. Jessica Simmons picked up three wickets for 35 runs for Magicians but in vain.

Meanwhile, Jessica McFadyen’s mammoth unbeaten 153 and a 138-run opening partnership with Rebecca Burns (72) helped Wellington Blaze post five for 329 in Dunedin, which proved 131 too many for Otago Sparks.

Brief Scores

Northern Spirit 193 all out in 46.1 overs (Eimear Richardson 37, Olivia Lobb 32; Bella Armstrong 4/18, Jane Barnett 3/55) beat Auckland Hearts 188/9 in 50 overs (Regina Lili’I 63, Arlene Kelly 37; Eimear Richardson 4/44) by five runs.

Canterbury Magicians 211/5 in 48 overs (Frances Mackay 107, Erin Chandler 57; Hannah Rowe 2/32) lost to Central Hinds 212/7 in 47.3 overs (Natalie Dodd 86*, Jess Watkin 50; Jessica Simmons 3/35) by three wickets.

Wellington Blaze 329/5 in 50 overs (Jessica McFadyen 153*, Rebecca Burns 72; Eden Carson 2/51) beat Otago Sparks 198 all out in 47.5 overs (Caitlin Blakely 75, Bella James 60; Xara Jetly 3/35) by 131 runs.