Cricket: Sparks deliver on coach's request

Suzie Bates.
Suzie Bates.
What the coach wants, the coach gets.

Otago Sparks coach Warren Lees made a mid-week call to his captain Suzie Bates and ordered up three wins against Central Districts, and he was not disappointed.

The Sparks completely dominated the Hinds at Cornwall Park, Hastings, winning the twenty/20 fixture on Friday by nine wickets and both one-day games by comfortable margins.

Bates was in fine form, claiming four wickets and smashing an undefeated to 62 from 66 deliveries to help her side beat Central by eight wickets yesterday.

She also played an important role in Saturday's 116-run win, with three for 21.

''Warren actually rang earlier in the week and said he'd like three wins,'' Bates said.

''He requested that. But they were definitely games we knew, if we performed well, we should win, so it was nice to get all three wins."

Yesterday, Otago dismissed Central for 111.

Former White Ferns all-rounder Sarah Tsukigawa matched Bates' four-wicket haul with four of her own. Kelly Rangi top-scored for the home side with an unbeaten innings of 38 and Rachel Priest also chipped in, with 29.

The Sparks made light work of the chase as Bates whacked a rapid half century and Lisa Grant (29) and Katey Martin (11 not out) provided good support.

''It is nice to be scoring runs consistently, and finishing off a game is always nice,'' Bates said.

The Whites Ferns captain will be hoping her form does not desert her in the next week or so. The White Ferns leave for Sydney today and will play Australia in four one-day games for the Rose Bowl.

Bates will not miss any domestic matches, as Otago does not play again until December 27.

All six teams will travel to Lincoln University to play the round four series of games. Otago has drawn Wellington and will return to Mosgiel for its last series of games against Northern Districts in the new year.

Otago has won three of its six one-day games with four to play. A place in the January 12 final is still within reach.

Martin played her 100th one-day game for Otago on Saturday and had a memorable match with a fine innings of 69.

She helped her side post a formidable total of 213.

The Hinds fell well short, reaching 97 for nine from 26.4 overs.

Abby Burrows was unable to bat after breaking a bone in her hand while fielding.


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