Cricket: Sparks start brightly with a solid win

The Otago Sparks made an excellent start to the summer with a comprehensive win against Auckland in the opening game of the twenty/20 tournament in Invercargill last night.

Auckland posted 111 for eight but six overs were lost to poor weather, leaving Otago chasing 86 runs from 14 overs to win.

White Ferns duo Katey Martin (59 not out) and Suzie Bates (19) made light work of the target, combining in an opening stand of 75 to help Otago to a nine-wicket win.

Martin swatted eight boundaries in a rapid half-century which came off just 40 deliveries.

Bates was more circumspect, preferring to feed the strike to her batting partner. But she played a key role with the ball, grabbing the wickets of openers Megan Tremaine and Sam Curtis, and finished with two for 15 from her four overs.

Sarah Tsukigawa had success in her comeback match. The former Silver Fern retired at the end of the 2010-11 season but picked up where she left off with two for 15 from four overs.

Victoria Abbott also claimed two wickets.

With Auckland having slumped to 16 for three, Victoria Lind (32) and Katie Perkins (19) added 56 for the fourth wicket and Holly Huddleston made an undefeated 17 to help their side mount a defendable total.