The Auckland Hearts have won a tight match against last year’s runners-up, the Wellington Blaze.
Auckland dismissed the Blaze for 108, but made hard work of the chase as they made the final runs with three balls and five wickets in hand.
Wellington opener Sarah Taylor played well for her 43, which would have been a relief for the Blaze since they had lost key batsmen Lucy Doolan (10) and Megan Wakefield (13) cheaply.
Mindy Hodgson took over once Taylor was dismissed, but found very little help from anybody else and could only push Wellington to 109 for seven, having contributed 27 herself.
Paula Gruber was one of the main reasons that the Blaze were held to such a low score and finished with figures of two for 23 from four.
Auckland’s batting in recent games has been brilliant so it was expected by many that such a low total would be easily accounted for.
It wasn’t to be the case.
Maddie Green (40) was once again successful with the bat and found help from 2011 ICC Player of the Year Stefanie Taylor (24) to take the Hearts to 75 for one.
Both were then dismissed in reasonably quick succession and from then on Auckland relied on Katie Perkins who would lead her team to victory – just.
Perkins made 26 not out to make sure her team were still in with a chance to reach the finals in a fortnights time.
It was a crucial five wicket win for Auckland who face Northern in an intense affair next week.