Otago Sparks wilt against Wellington

Otago wilted. Wellington prospered.

The Otago team’s opening game in the women’s Super Smash was rather one-sided.

The Blaze pummelled 189 for seven on a batsman-friendly surface at Lincoln yesterday.

Veteran wicketkeeper-batsman Rachel Priest and Maddy Green put together a tremendous 141-run stand for the third wicket.

Otago’s reply faltered, floundered, flopped and finished at 123 for nine.

The Sparks will not get long to dwell on the 66-run defeat. They play back-to-back games today – Auckland in the morning and Northern Districts in the afternoon.

While the Sparks were outplayed, they started well. Emma Black struck twice to leave Wellington six for two.

The dangerous Sophie Devine walked past a legside wide and was stumped by her White Ferns team-mate Katey Martin.

Black will bowl better deliveries and did. She yorked Rebecca Burns three balls later.

Priest and Green, who was making her debut for the Blaze, took over.

Green pummelled 10 fours and a six on her way to 63 from 36 balls. Priest was just as aggressive. She swatted 11 fours and two sixes before she holed out on 76 from 48 balls.

Eden Carson picked up the wicket of Priest and her two for 28 was a cracking performance in the context of the game.

Black finished with three for 19 and Hannah Darlington was frugal.

But Suzie Bates, Lisa Griffith and Hayley Jensen went for 109 runs collectively.

The Sparks lost the hard-hitting Millie Cowan in the opening over. It was a poor start to the chase but Bates and Martin added 62 to repair the damage.

But they were both out in the ninth over. White Ferns leg-spinner Amelia Kerr made the double strike.

With the classy duo back in the dressing room, the Sparks’ prospects plummeted and fell further when talented all-rounder Jensen was caught and bowled by Jess Kerr for two-ball duck.

That left Australian imports Griffith and Darlington with an awful lot to do. Way too much.

They both got starts but Darlington spooned a catch into the leg side on 13 and Griffith had a heave and was bowled for eight.

Former Otago spinner Leigh Kasperek grabbed both scalps. The Kerr sisters claimed four wickets between them but it was the damaging third-wicket stand which set up Wellington’s comfortable win.

In the other games, Central Districts beat Canterbury by 19 runs. Canterbury returned in the afternoon and lost to Auckland by 68 runs.


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