Auckland too tough for Sparks

Hayley Jensen
Hayley Jensen
The Otago Sparks had a tough weekend at the office in Auckland, recording back-to-back losses to the home side.

On Saturday, it was on the wrong end of a record bowling performance from seamer Bella Armstrong.

Armstrong (20) set a women’s record when taking seven wickets for 18 off nine overs as Otago was all out for 74.

Armstrong surpassed the old mark, set by Munokoa Tunupopo in the 1999-2000 season, by just one run.

Yesterday, the Otago side was better with the bat, making 193 for nine wickets. But Auckland easily chased down the revised total, getting home with plenty of overs to spare.

It was the first time Armstrong had taken a five-wicket bag and she was tough to play.

Auckland wicketkeeper Tariel Lamb picked up five catches as Auckland had a dominant performance.

Otago found it hard to get anything away and once Armstrong came on at second change, the Auckland side was on its way.

It knocked off the small target within 15 overs for the loss of just the two wickets, gaining a bonus point with the victory.

Otago had to bat first again yesterday and managed better the second time around at Melville Park.

Hayley Jensen scored 65 in nearly as many balls and found the way to the boundary enough to keep the score ticking over.

She shared a profitable partnership with Eden Carson, who ended up scoring a half-century.

The weather intervened at the wrong time for Otago, the sides forced from the field for nearly an hour and a-half and Otago on 125 for five after 34 overs.

The Otago duo came back on and tried to hit out but Jensen got out three overs after returning to the field.

Carson hit her 50 off 53 balls and got the side up to 193 for nine wickets.

Auckland had a revised target of 196 off 46 overs and it did it easily. Its openers, Lauren Down and Saachi Shahri, combined for 134.

Shahri was first to go in the 24th over, dismissed by Emma Black, who also picked up the other wicket.

Auckland has plenty of batting depth and international Katie Perkins came to the wicket and combined with Down to see the side home with more than a dozen overs to spare. Down finished on 88, hitting nearly half her runs in boundaries.

The women’s sides now switch to the twenty20 competition, in which Otago has a series of games at Lincoln next weekend.


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