ACES vs. FIREBIRDS | ACES won by 13 runs. A blistering start from ACES left-armer Ben Lister, who swung the ball both ways, helped set the tone for a low-scoring defence. Lister struck early and often to be sitting pretty with figures of 3-1 early in the power play.
Combined with 2-20 from spinner Louis Delport, the ACES successfully squeezed the Firebirds after Lister’s initial burst. For the Firebirds, Michael Bracewell’s unbeaten 58 off 46 kept his side in the contest, but at arm’s reach as the ACES collected their first win of 2021/22.
Earlier, Mark Chapman had top-scored for Auckland with a vital lone hand of 55 in the team’s first win of the campaign. The ACES slumped from a promising start at 61/1 to 134/9 from their 20 overs. Ben Sears’ 3-22 largely responsible for the Firebirds turnaround with the ball.
HEARTS vs. BLAZE | Blaze won by 40 runs.
It was punch and counterpunch after Lauren Down lost the toss and the HEARTS were asked to bowl first at the Cello Basin Reserve. A strong front three from Arlene Kelly and Holly Huddleston turned when Blaze openers Georgia Plimmer (23) and Rebecca Burns (42) got in.
The HEARTS created a series of chances and it was Saachi Shahri who capitalised on an attempted tight single, catching Plimmer short with a direct hit from point. From there, the HEARTS kept Melie Kerr to a 43-ball 42, but it Burns’ aggressive knock gave the Blaze a total of 143/5 to defend.
Jess Kerr (4/13) then nabbed the first four HEARTS wickets, inside of the power play to all but extinguish the HEARTS hopes of a 3-0 start to the Dream11 Super Smash season. Bella Armstrong (31) and Arlene Kelly (25) put together the only partnership of note as the HEARTS batted through to the 20th over and finished 103/8.
After Christmas at home, the ACES and HEARTS continue on the road over the next week with matches in Palmerston North (27th Dec | Stags / Hinds) and in Queenstown (29th Dec | Volts / Sparks).