The Hearts’ Dream11 Super Smash campaign came to an end on Thursday, suffering defeat to a strong Otago Sparks side in Dunedin. Sparks won by 29 runs.
The Hearts side featured four players from Howick Pakuranga Cricket Club – Skye Bowden, Saachi Shahri and sisters Molly and Josie Penfold.
Having lost the toss, the Hearts needed early wickets to halt the Sparks’ powerful top order.
While the wickets took time to come, the visitors stuck to their task to keep the Suzie Bates-led Sparks to 143/5.
Bates once again top-scored for the Sparks, hitting 75 off 62 balls. Molly Penfold delivered one of her spells of the season, picking up 2-27 from her four overs, while Arlene Kelly (1-19) was again miserly.
The chase hinged on partnerships at the top. The Sparks attack applied the blowtorch through the powerplay, leaving the Hearts playing catch-up at 19/1.
As the Sparks bowlers have done for much of the season, they shut down the boundaries and the Hearts were never really in the game.
Katie Perkins (24) battled away at the top and when the required run-rate was out of reach, Kelly had some fun at the end finishing with 28* off 21 balls.
The Hearts would eventually finish 29 runs short as the Sparks advanced to the Grand Final.
The Hearts now turn their attention to the Halliburton Johnstone Shield with six matches still to play throughout February.