At Kennards Hire Community Oval, Auckland: Auckland Hearts 114-3 (Prue Catton 57 off 48; Hannah Rowe 2-6 off 4) beat Central Hinds 113-4 (Kerry Tomlinson 40 off 38; Amie Hucker 2-20 off 4) by seven wickets.
Auckland teenager Prue Catton’s breakthrough Super Smash innings lifted the Hearts into the top three for the playoffs after a seven-wicket victory over the winless Central Hinds.
Opener Catton combined with Hearts captain Lauren Down (24 off 32) for an 83-run partnership for the second wicket, scoring her first Super Smash 50 for an excellent match-winning knock which included nine fours in Auckland on Saturday.
The 19-year-old was out for 57 off 48 balls in the 16th over but had done enough to guide the Hearts to their third success of the campaign, with only 13 runs needed in the final overs. Bella Armstrong (13 off 13) hit the winning runs with 15 balls to spare.
* Youngster Zak Foulkes swings Kings to big Super Smash win over Brave
* Momentous batting collapses dooms Northern Brave in Super Smash loss to Canterbury
* Canterbury Kings beat the rain, Auckland Aces for overdue Super Smash victory
* Classy Amy Satterthwaite leads Magicians to Super Smash win over Hearts
Auckland climbed above the Otago Sparks into the playoff positions, having played one match more, with the Wellington Blaze and the Canterbury Magicians still well clear in the top two.
Kerry Tomlinson anchored most of the Hinds’ batting effort with a steady 40 off 38 balls, but she also benefited from being dropped twice off Makayla Templeton.
Tomlinson was removed by Arlene Kelly in the 17th over – caught by Amie Hucker – as the Hinds failed to score quicker than a run a ball and at one point went five overs without scoring any boundary.
Setting the Hearts 114 to win, White Ferns seamer Hannah Rowe was in terrific form for the Hinds with the ball, conceding only three runs and taking the wicket of opener Saachi Shahri for 4 in her opening three overs.
However, the Hinds did not have a significant total to defend and Catton batted them out of contention.
The hosts opted to bowl after winning the toss and limited the hinds for much of the first innings.
Natalie Dodd’s labored 29 off 48 balls epitomized the visitors’ struggles with the bat, despite her 60-run partnership with Tomlinson for the third wicket.
Rowe’s late flurry (19 off 10) improved the Hinds to 113-4 from their 20 overs, but the Hearts had a spring in their step ahead of their run chase.
Meanwhile, the Canterbury Magicians scored a 16-run win in the Hallyburton Johnstone one-day competition over Northern Districts in Christchurch on Saturday.
Batting first at Hagley Oval, the hosts made 227 all out in 49.2 overs with contributions from Kate Anderson (54), Jodie Dean (47), Missy Banks (37 not out) and Amy Satterthwaite (33), while White Ferns batter Brooke Halliday took 3-38 on her return from injury for the visitors.
In reply, ND were dismissed for 211 in the 47th over, despite 85 from 96 balls from Eimear Richardson at No.6 which threatened an upset victory.
Medium-pacer Hucker equaled her best Super Smash figures with 2-20 from her four overs. Two quick wickets in her second put the Hinds on the back foot, the score 21-2 in the fifth.
Her first, a delightful, deceptive yorker, dismissed opener Georgia Atkinson for 6. Her second was a sharp, one-handed catch from her own bowling to send visiting skipper Jess Watkins back to the pavilion for only 4.
Best with the bat
Catton’s highest Super Smash score was mighty impressive and the teenager made light work of the Hinds’ total. Her previous top score in the competition was 3.
She played shots all around the ground and was only dismissed attempting to finish with a flourish when the match was all but over.
Best with the ball
Rowe was on the losing side, but her opening spell (1-3 in three overs, including two maidens) was superb. Her swing, guile and accuracy troubled Auckland’s top order.
She finished with 2-6 from her four overs and had Catton caught for her second strike, although it was too little, too late.
Auckland next host leaders and reigning champions Wellington next Friday and the Hinds play Otago in Nelson next Saturday.
After six matches each, the Hearts are third on 12 points and the Hinds remain last without a point.
The top three will contest the playoffs.