Both the ACES and HEARTS will head to Queenstown with 2-2 records after a split decision with the Central Stags and Hinds in Palmerston North.
ACES vs. Stags | ACES won by four wickets.
The ACES stormed home in a thriller to stun the top-of-the-table Stags. Deciding to bat first, the Stags raced out of the blocks through Bayley Wiggins (37) and Greg Hay (57).
Lockie Ferguson, Ben Lister and Adithya Ashok then helped drag the hosts back, but at 77/1 after the first ten, there was plenty left in the Stags tank. The ACES endeavour remained steadfast and it eventually paid off with Ferguson and Louis Delport both nabbing a brace of Stags scalps just as a powerful finish looked on.
Chasing 169, the ACES ran into early trouble as Blair Tickner put the Stags on top.
At 33/3, Martin Guptill and Robbie O’Donnell were forced in the corner of reevaluation and reconstruction. It was slow and steady for the next ten overs as the pair were challenged at every turn. Then the explosion came.
Needing 65 from the final 30 balls, it all started to happen for the ACES. The local crowd were right into it, with the odd ‘Go Guptill, hit us a six.’
The ACES veteran delivered in the 17th hitting two fours and a six. It was only the beginning. Ben Horne found himself at the centre of the action, swatting his first ball for six and the ACES wicketkeeper never looked back.
His innings read 27 (9) when he departed on the final ball of the penultimate over. Needing 9 off the last over, Joey Field delivered four excellent deliveries leaving the ACES with 5 runs to win from the final two balls.
Ferguson on strike. Slower ball. Outside leg. Crash. Six. The ACES win with a ball to spare.
Guptill was unbeaten on 79 off 58, with 7 fours, 3 sixes and some vintage strokes!
HEARTS vs. Hinds | Hinds won by 13 runs.
Earlier, the HEARTS came unstuck against a tidy Hinds outfit.
Having lost the toss and been asked to bowl first, the HEARTS were again accurate to start.
Arlene Kelly (1-18) settled in on a line and length to test the Hinds’ top order It took time for the seeds of pressure to bear fruit, but the wickets would come in the second half of the Hinds’ inning.
For the HEARTS, Holly Huddleston, Anna Peterson, Jesse Prasad and Fran Jonas (?) joined Kelly as wicket-takers, while Nat Dodd (57) and Georgia Atkinson (32) pushed the Hinds to 127/5.
The HEARTS chase had an ominous opening losing a wicket to the very first ball.
Lauren Down and Bella Armstrong were then tasked with setting the platform, but both picked out fielders in the ring.
It was the story of the HEARTS chase as the Hinds seemed to always have a fielder in the right place. Katie Perkins finished with 33, dismissed with a required run-rate blowing out above eight an over.
Ultimately, the HEARTS left their run a little too late and the Hinds picked up their first victory of the competition.