Another upset win by Northern Spirit — this time in the Twenty20 format, in a thriller — sees this season's giant-killers sharing the points lead at the top of the national table after round two of NZC's women’s domestic T20 battle.
Wellington Blaze 117/4 (Rachel Priest 48, Sophie Devine 38; Emma Parker 2-27) lost to Northern Spirit 119/3 in 19.2 overs (Natalie Dodd 25, Katie Gurrey 40, Kerry Tomlinson 23 not out’ Amelia Kerr 2-21) by seven wickets at Cobham Oval, Whangarei on 2 December 2017
After Wellington Blaze captain Liz Perry had elected to set last season's fifth-placed Spirit a chase at Whangarei's Cobham Oval, an unbeaten 48 off 51 balls from WHITE FERNS opener Rachel Priest had spearheaded the Blaze to 117 for four in their 20 overs.
Priest had combined with fellow international Sophie Devine (38 off 37 balls) to pile on 58 runs for the second wicket — but in return, Spirit’s opening blade Natalie Dodd put a quick dent in the run chase, racing to a run-a-ball 25 before she was stumped in the seventh over.
Needing a further 59 runs at the halfway mark, the match was already destined for a tight finish, a pivotal run-a-ball 40 from Katie Gurrey then taking Spirit out to 86/3 in the 15th over. Kerry Tomlinson (23* off 18) blasted a six next over to ease the pressure, but the heat came right back on after a useful 17th over from Devine cost just one run and a wide — leaving an equation of 19 runs off 18 balls.
Two more timely boundaries from Tomlinson, riding high after having been named NZC’s 2016 Maori Scholarship winner earlier this week, had Spirit right back in the box seat, just four more runs needed off Alex Evans’s final over, and international Bernadine Bezuidenhout set to take the strike.
A dot ball. A wide… then a boundary and voilà, a thrilling seven-wicket victory for Spirit was in the bag. They had knocked off their second big win in the space of a week against one of the more fancied teams on the women’s circuit — having already downed defending one-day champs the Hearts in round one of the 50-over competition last weekend.
They will be looking to continue their exciting run of form over the weekend as the two sides clash again at Cobham Oval in the One-Day Competition over the next two days.