With just two balls left up their sleeve, Wellington Blaze became the first team this season to overcome Hallyburton Johnstone Shield front-runners the Auckland Hearts.
It was an epic contest, a nerve-jangling chase to get up for 213, but the Blaze got home after the lower middle order clung on and the captain rallied in a way the Hearts could only wish they had earlier.
Earlier, Blaze's Deanna Doughty (above) made key two breakthroughs while Amelia Kerr (3-29 and 56) turned in a solid all-round game, her control chiefly responsible for putting the screws on the latter stages of the Hearts’ innings before getting the Blaze’s chase off to a positive beginning with a half century at the top.
The Hearts had likewise made a solid start after winning the toss and batting in the livestreamed feature match on Bert Sutcliffe Oval, Anna Peterson and Lauren Down (below) piling on a run-a-ball 64 for the opening wicket before Down kicked on for the Hearts’ top contribution of 81.
The dependable opener was in sight of her maiden List A century before she was stumped off Lucy Doolan after almost 32 overs in charge, and from there the Hearts’ tail rapidly fell away to be all out in 49 overs.
Doolan would also make a good start with the bat in an opening stand of 76 and the problem for the Hearts attack was that the Blaze partnerships just kept coming, despite some handy wickets.
The match was still in balance with 10 overs to go, and Blaze had needed a further 20 runs off the last 15 balls but skipper Liz Perry kept her cool to get the team home with an unbeaten 32, smashing away the tension as she finally got the winning runs with a boundary.