Ominous form in Friday's Women's T20 appetiser will have punters backing the Auckland Hearts even more confidently for the one-day Hallyburton Johnstone Shield bragging rights now today.
The Hearts put in a clinical performance to secure a dominant, 95-run victory against Northern Spirit in round five of the shortest format at the St Paul's Collegiate grounds in Te Kowhai, Hamilton.
Maddy Green won the toss and chose to bat, fellow WHITE FERN Anna Peterson (40 off 21) in fine form, taking it to the Spirit attack to get the Hearts off to a fast start.
Fellow opener Lauren Down meanwhile continued her solid form with an unbeaten 92 off just 57 balls, leaving her previous career best 54 well behind.
Slaying 10 boundaries and two sixes as she carried her bat, she also allowed her teammates to play with freedom around her as she underpinned a massive first innings total of 211 for three.
Green (38 off 33) was the perfect foil for Down, feeding her the strike whilst Down dispatched the bowlers to all parts of the ground.
The pressure of chasing the high run rate showed for the Spirit.
Their mission was only made more difficult by Arlene Kelly (2-11, below) bowling an excellent opening spell, keeping it tight and picking up two early wickets to keep the Hearts in control.
Bella Armstrong (2-24) and Peterson (2-22) tied the Spirit down with spin through the middle overs, the Hearts never relinquishing their grip on the match with the Spirit finishing their 20 overs at 116 for nine, handing the Hearts a comfortable 95-run victory.
The two sides meet at the same venue for a match today that may decide the home of the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield this winter.