Inglis not one to blow own trumpet

Otago Sparks opening batter Polly Inglis prepares to play a shot during the team’s Super Smash...
Otago Sparks opening batter Polly Inglis prepares to play a shot during the team’s Super Smash campaign earlier this season. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
Polly Inglis is not one to get too carried away with her own success.

A sublime innings of 61 not out propelled the Otago Sparks opening batter into the spotlight last weekend.

She showed plenty of class to hit the Auckland Hearts bowlers all around the ground, guiding Otago to a 10-wicket win and clinching a home Super Smash elimination final.

It sparked talk of her being among the contenders for the back-up wicket-keeper batter position in the White Ferns World Cup squad.

It was also a rare occasion at which Suzie Bates, who compiled a quality 40 not out at the other end, was outshone while playing well.

Inglis was quick to play down both points.

She pointed out it was just "one good innings this season" — which may be underselling herself — while jokingly suggesting she may have hogged the strike from Bates.

Despite that, she did admit it had been a good innings.

"I guess it was pretty good to get some runs under my belt," the 25-year-old said.

"I didn’t have too much scoreboard pressure, which helped. It helps when [Sparks coach Craig Cumming] keeps instilling confidence in us to back our skills. Even if we haven’t been scoring many runs, he backs us all the way, so we can keep being confident to keep going out there and performing."

While the innings was Inglis’ first big one of the competition, she had several handy contributions at a useful strike rate before the new year.

That high strike rate was key, while the depth in the Sparks batting line-up has allowed her to play freely without fear of the consequences of getting out.

"I guess that’s the nature of twenty20 a bit, isn’t it?" Inglis said.

"We’ve got a pretty solid few batters to come in after me. I’ve been able to just play my natural game, which makes things a lot easier."

While playing down the White Ferns talk, she said playing international cricket remained a goal.

Inglis’ time behind the stumps had been limited this season, as White Ferns keeper-batter Katey Martin is also in the Sparks team.

However, she found Martin good to learn from and got in plenty of keeping practice with her coach in her new home city.

Inglis moved to Wellington in March to take up a job consulting for KPMG.

She was enjoying living in the capital and, while it meant a bit more travel, she was grateful to be able to keep wearing blue and gold.

"I guess having played since I was 15, it would be a pretty hard knot to cut. I’m just proud to play for Otago. I couldn’t see myself in any other colours."

While Otago has secured second-place on the table, tomorrow’s match will have significance for the Canterbury Magicians.

They remain in a scrap for the right to play to Sparks in Thursday’s elimination final.

Keeping momentum going would be key for the Sparks and Inglis said the confidence from last week would be a boost.

"Cricket’s a pretty hard game, it can be pretty harsh. Any bit of confidence, you’re going to hold on to it and relish for as long as you can."

The game begins at 10.10am.

SUPER Smash

University Oval, tomorrow, 10.10am

Otago Sparks: Suzie Bates, Polly Inglis, Katey Martin, Kate Ebrahim, Caitlin Blakely, Hayley Jensen, Olivia Gain, Bella James, Eden Carson, Emma Black, Sophie Oldershaw, Marina Lamplough.

Canterbury Magicians: (probable) Frankie Mackay, Sarah Asmussen, Missy Banks, Nat Cox, Jodie Dean, Abigale Gerken, Laura Hughes, Kirsty Nation, Amy Satterthwaite, Jacinta Savage, Jess Simmons, Lea Tahuhu.

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