CD Hinds v Auckland Aces
When two teams are slogging it out on the field it's never a done deal.
That's why it's called sports.
It was another nail-biting finish but the Central Districts Hinds came out on the wrong side of the ledger in their first limited-over match of round two of the Action Sports series today in ideal cricketing conditions.
The Auckland Hearts claimed a two-wicket victory at QEII Park in Masterton, exacting revenge on their one-run Twenty/20 defeat yesterday at the same venue.
The Mike Shrimpton-coached Hinds will return tomorrow morning knowing their indiscipline in the middle stages of the game and a lack of urgency in running singles cost them victory.
CD scored 150 runs of their allotted 50 overs, which was perhaps 30 runs shy of a par score, with reliable skipper Rachel Priest top scoring at No 4 with a sedate 58 from 81 balls, including four boundaries, in a dream start to the season.
None of the other batsmen got past 20 runs.
That CD's worm on the run-rate chart didn't find much sustenance is also a testimony to the visitors' tight bowling although the hosts were guilty of not taking singles at times.
It didn't help that the Hinds gifted 18 wides and five no balls as Auckland chased down the target of 154 with 35 balls to spare.
Regrettably,bowling no balls effectively boils down to not doing the basics right. That is, measuring the run ups with the intensity of an effort ball before the start of every session.
Also, bowlers should warm up properly before each stint begins to avoid erratic deliveries.
Hearts skipper/opener Victoria Lind and Holly Huddleston forged a sixth-wicket partnership of 78 runs which proved to be pivotal but equally significant was the ability of their tailenders to weather the CD onslaught.
No 7 Huddleston, who should have bought a Lotto ticket tonight, was unbeaten on 41 (91 balls) and No 10 Paula Gruber was 4 not out.
Lind, with 67 runs from 101 balls, spearheaded the chase with aplomb.
Agreeing it was tense, Hearts coach Haidee Tiffen said CD showed some ticker in the end to swing the momentum in their favour.
"We had 10 overs to get 10 runs so we had to be patient and I'm pleased with the girls," the former international said.
She hailed Lind, adding they had discussed the issue of a senior player taking responsibility and it was appropriate the skipper did that.
Tiffen singled out Arlene Kelly (1-7 off five overs) for her bowling as well as their fielding effort in restricting CD's total.
Spinner Gruber was equally thrifty in her 1-24 from 10 overs, including a maiden.
Conversely Tiffen felt CD had bowled "two sides and two lengths" but Priest, celebrating her recall to the White Ferns, showed that if you bat sensibly than healthy totals are always there for the taking.
Earlier, CD had chances to break the match-winning partnership but they will rue some poor throws to run them out and a dropped catch at deep square leg in the 34th over.
Teenagers Hannah Rowe and left-armer Maneka Singh, who triggered off a mini-collapse after returning to her natural bowling action, took three wickets each but, generally, most of the bowlers were frugal on a traditionally sticky wicket that left divots on impact of the ball or stayed unexpectedly low.
Unwanted White Fern Kate Broadmore, though, was the most frugal with 1-21 from 10 overs, including a maiden.
Said Priest: "I don't think we really deserved to win with the way we played in the middle stages but it was a good comeback from Hannah and Broady.
"People always say we should have won it but we lost in the middle stages where the fielding went flat and we didn't take our chances, really," she said, lamenting the extras and agreeing 30 more runs would have been enough.
Priest is enjoying her traction with the bat after returning fitter and with her knee problem behind her.
"I decided before the start of the season to make myself more of a batter rather than a T20 slogger," Priest said, adding that's what CD needed today with more batsmen needing to score more consistently.
In all honesty, CD should have won today but have another shot tomorrow to redeem themselves against an Auckland outfit who don't look that convincing this summer without their overseas import batsmen.