Jensen, Inglis shine in big win for Sparks

Hayley Jensen. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Hayley Jensen. PHOTO: ODT FILES
A demolition has secured the Otago Sparks a home Super Smash elimination final.

Hayley Jensen made her impact felt on her return after over a month away, while Polly Inglis showed her class in chasing down their target.

Two tight overs to open and three wickets through the middle from Jensen set the tone for a win in Auckland today.

The White Ferns all-rounder finished with figures of three wickets for 21 runs, helping restrict the Auckland Hearts to 106 for six in their Super Smash game.

It set the Sparks up for a 10-wicket win.

Opening batters Inglis and Suzie Bates made light work of the total.

Inglis smashed a quality 61 not out, showing her ability to innovate behind the wicket, as well as find the boundary square of the wicket.

It was her best innings of the summer and it would be a surprise if it did not at least catch the eye of the national selectors.

At the other end Bates chipped in with an unbeaten 40, her quality evident as she pulled several short balls away for four.

But it was the lack of scoreboard pressure that enabled that duo to cruise to their target.

It was not just Jensen that impressed with the ball.

The Sparks bowled tightly throughout the innings and, just as the Hearts looked to gain ascendancy through the middle, took key wickets to regain momentum.

Emma Black was similarly impressive early on and combined with Jensen to hold Auckland to 16 off its first four overs.

The Hearts kept wickets in hand, though, and began to increase their run rate through the middle of the innings.

However, two wickets in two balls from Jensen _ including experienced opener Katie Perkins for 23 _ handed momentum back to the Sparks.

But it was Sophie Oldershaw's dismissal of opener Lauren Down in the 15th over that proved most important.

Down was established on 49 and attacking dangerously when she edged one through to keeper Katey Martin, trying to sweep off Oldershaw.

It was a blow heading into the final six overs.

No other Auckland batter was able to establish herself, as the innings stalled through the death overs.

The Sparks opening batters took a few overs to get going.

It was Inglis that ignited the innings, finding the boundary in back-to-back balls to help take 11 off the third over.

Holly Huddleston and Molly Penfold bowled tightly enough to keep Otago to 31 at the end of the powerplay.

But it was through the middle of the innings that Inglis and Bates did their damage.

Both were set and both showed their ability to put away the bad balls, while innovating to make use of the space behind the wicket.

They comfortably reached Auckland's total with 3.5 overs to spare.

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