Katie Perkins, bowlers shine as Auckland Hearts qualify for finals

Katie Perkins, bowlers shine as Auckland Hearts qualify for finals

Katie Perkins of Auckland Hearts in action. © White Ferns

A clinical performance from the bowlers and counter-attacking innings from Katie Perkins helped the Auckland Hearts register a six-wicket win against the Northern Spirit on Friday(January 29). With this win, the Hearts became the third team to qualify for the finals after Wellington Blaze and Canterbury Magicians.

Chasing less than six runs an over, the Hearts lost their skipper Lauren Down early. She got out for five runs from four balls trying to slog-sweep LH Heap over the inner circle and was caught by Lauren Down at mid-off.

Anna Peterson and Perkins joined hands in the middle and added 26 runs from 24 balls. Brooke Halliday removed Peterson for 16 runs in as many balls. Charlotte Sarsfield dismissed Bella Armstrong shortly after for two runs from five balls. 

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Holly Huddleston, who walked in at number five, held fort at one end while Perkins launched a counter-attack. She hit boundaries off Heap, Halliday, Makayla Templeton, and Lucy Boucher cruising her way to 45 from 36 balls. 

With 20 runs required to win, Perkins looked set for a half-century. However, she fell short by five runs as she tried to hit Halliday over cover and was caught by Heaps at short third-man. 

Huddleston remained not out till the end as she saw through the chase with Regina Lili'i at the other end. She scored 29 runs from 31 balls as the Hearts won with eleven balls to spare.

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Earlier, after opting to bat, the Spirit got off to a steady start. Kate Anderson and Halliday added 22 runs before the former was dismissed by Arlene Kelly for a run-a-ball 11. 

Joined by Caitlin Gurrey, Halliday tried to build a partnership. The duo kept the scoreboard moving with singles and doubles while putting away the occasional bad balls to the boundary. Together they added 48 runs in 52 balls. 

When it looked like they were settling in for a big partnership, FC Jonas removed Gurrey. Six balls later, Halliday got out to Anna Peterson for 34 from 40 balls. Jonas followed it up with the wicket of Felicity Leydon-Davis in the very next over. From 70 for one, the Spirit went to 81 for four in a span of 14 deliveries.

With the Hearts bowlers pegging away with wickets at regular intervals, the Spirit never recovered from the slump. They scrapped their way to 109 for seven in 20 overs. In the last five overs, the Hearts gave away just 17 runs and picked up three wickets. 

Kelly and Jonas were the picks of the bowlers with four wickets among them for 35 runs in their eight overs.

Brief scores:

Auckland Hearts: 111/4 in 18.1 overs (Katie Perkins 45, Brooke Halliday 2/22) beat Northern Spirit: 108/7 (Brooke Halliday 34, Arlene Kelly 2/17) by six wickets. 

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