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Top of the table clash for Central Hinds

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Whanganui’s Jess Watkin is in line to play her 50th one-day match for the Central Hinds this Sunday as the national Hallyburton Johnstone Shield resumes with a top-of-the-table clash this weekend while Natalie Dodd will play her 100th domestic one-day match in the national competition.

Watkin made her Central Hinds debut against the Auckland Hearts at Auckland’s Melville Park in December 2013 and, should she play both rounds this weekend, will receive her 50th cap at the same venue, against the same opponent.

Dodd, who joined the Central Hinds this season after 11 seasons with Northern Spirit, will meanwhile join the elite echelon of players to have brought up a century of games in the national competition.

Having dropped only one game from six rounds, the Central Hinds resume the national one-day competition in an exciting position, second on the table and just five points behind unbeaten leaders the Auckland Hearts.

With a maximum of five points (for a bonus-point win) up for grabs from each of the remaining four rounds, it puts the Hearts and Hinds in the box seat to meet again in the Grand Final on 9 March - but with everything still to play for this weekend.

Trailing by 10 points in third sport, nearest challenger Wellington Blaze is still a contender, but has a lot of catching up to do. Blaze needs to fend off the strong Canterbury Magicians at the Basin Reserve in the weekend’s back-to-back rounds and will be hoping the Hinds meanwhile don’t stretch their lead any further as the business end of the competition gets underway.

Central Hinds captain Anlo van Deventer has other plans, and says she and her team are fired up to take their game to defending champions the Hearts on the Aucklanders’ home turf this weekend.

"One thing I love about playing for the Hinds is that we never shy away from a challenge," says van Deventer.

"The rounds against the Hearts this Saturday and Sunday are exciting because no one had really expected us to go as well as we have this season. We were underdogs, and I think that’s going to put a bit of pressure on the other teams to try to close us out.

"It’s exciting where CD cricket is going at the moment and I think the Hearts are going to be in for a bit of a shock this weekend if we can put our best foot forward."

While the Hinds’ strengths have shone through in the longer format, their scorching one-day form was not mirrored by Burger King Super Smash results this summer, with a winless record in the short format. However, the team took heart from coming close to upsetting the Auckland Hearts in New Plymouth in the T20s, and now the one-day side is just a few steps away from making a Grand Final - which, for many of the young team, will be their first national domestic final should they clinch a berth.

Van Deventer is confident her players can handle the newfound pressure.

"Once you start getting on a roll, as we have done, there probably is a little bit more expectation to continue on in that fashion, but I say the same thing to the girls every time: ‘We’ve just got to keep putting our plans in place and then execute them’.

"It’s not about trying to go outside of ourselves and do more than we ever have because of what we might perceive as pressure. That’s not our game. I think if we just continue to do the basics well, focus on our plans, then there is no reason that that shouldn’t prove successful for us."

For now, Finals qualification is not part of the team talk.

"We want to be in charge of our own destiny, but we are not playing just to qualify, not playing for the bare minimum here. We are targeting four wins from these next four rounds - taking in a positive and attacking mindset to put ourselves in the best position."

Fresh from a WHITE FERNS T20 series win over India, frontline pace bowlers Rosemary Mair (set to make her New Zealand One-Day International debut on the upcoming tour of Australia) and Hannah Rowe are both available for the weekend’s double-header. Mair is currently the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield’s leading wicket-taker with 11 wickets at a bowling average of 13.37, economy rate of just 2.94 and season best of 3-30.

Blaze’s Deanna Doughty is in second spot with 10 wickets, while Mair’s young teammate Monique Rees is third with nine wickets at 13.11, Rees’s maiden five-wicket bag (5-14) in Palmerston North in December the best haul by any woman in this summer’s competition.

This weekend’s rounds will be live-scored at www.nzc.nz with Sunday’s round eight beginning at the slightly earlier time of 10.00am.

CENTRAL HINDS v AUCKLAND HEARTS

Rounds Seven and Eight | Hallyburton Johnstone Shield

10.30am Saturday 16 Feb 2019 | 10am Sunday 17 Feb 2019

Melville Park, Auckland

Full schedule

Anlo van Deventer (captain) - Wairarapa - caps 51 + 1 for Dorset

Hannah Rowe (vice-captain) - Manawatū - caps 58 + 19 for NZ

Natalie Dodd (wicketkeeper) - Taranaki - caps 6 + 93 for Northern Spirit + 2 for North Island + 12 for NZ

Kerry Tomlinson - Wairarapa - caps 19 + 67 for Northern Spirit + 16 for Wellington + 2 for Dragons + 13 for Netherlands

Jess Watkin - Wanganui - caps 48 + 6 for NZ

Esther Lanser - Wairarapa - caps 33 + 27 for Netherlands

Rosemary Mair - Hawke’s Bay - caps 33

Kate Baxter - Taranaki - caps 51

Monique Rees - Wairarapa - caps 5

Claudia Green - Nelson - caps 2

Georgia Atkinson - Wairarapa - caps 15

Mikaela Greig - Manawatū - caps 33 + 3 for Netherlands

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Livescoring: visit nzc.nz

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