Jensen guides Sparks to first win of season

Hayley Jensen. PHOTOS: ODT FILES
Hayley Jensen
Otago Sparks all-rounder Hayley Jensen helped blast her team to a maiden victory this season.

But it was Caitlin Blakely who hung around to finish off the job at Bay Oval on Saturday.

The pair put on 52 for the fourth wicket to help overhaul the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern adjusted target of 102.

The Northern Spirit had posted 97 for four in the Super Smash match. The game was reduced to 16 overs apiece due to a delayed start but a further three overs were shed when rain interrupted the Spirit’s innings.

That interruption had a chilling impact on its run rate.

But the Sparks had their own challenges. They were three down for 33 and well off the pace before Jensen started clubbing boundaries.

Otago needed 58 off the last six overs and, in the women’s game, that is quite an ask.

But Jensen pounded four fours and a six in a whirlwind knock of 32 from 17 deliveries.

She got out at a critical time but Blakely was set and she stroked a couple of key boundaries to seal the six-wicket win with four balls to spare.

Blakely finished on 32 not out from 24 deliveries and hit the winning runs. It would have done her confidence the world of good and the team as well.

The Sparks have lost all six one-day games this season and had also dropped their opening two Super Smash games.

Earlier, Otago's Emma Black made a quick strike. She got the ball to nip back and it comfortably snuck under the swinging blade of opener Kate Anderson.

It was rather hopeful heave, really.

Fellow opener Brooke Halliday gave herself a bit more time and it paid off. She clipped three consecutive fours off Jensen's opening over and then took to Molly Loe in the next over.

Leg-spinner Sophie Oldershaw had Halliday dropped off her first delivery.

Experienced wicketkeeper Katey Martin grassed the chance but the ball was pretty wet by then.

Oldershaw was having to dry the ball with a towel each delivery. It was not great conditions for spin bowling or for fielding to be fair.

The umpires converged shortly after and everyone headed for the dressing rooms.

The break worked in Otago’s favour.

Halliday was unable to get re-established and was stumped for 37.

Katie Gurrey followed shortly after for 22. She holed out down the ground.

The Sparks would have been please to keep their opponent under 100 considering the start the Spirit had.

But the target looked a long way away when both Otago openers and key batswoman Katey Martin perished before they could have much impact.


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