Sparks face tough task

The Otago Sparks are going to have to work twice as hard to defend their twenty20 crown this season.

The women’s twenty20 competition has been expanded, with an extra five rounds tacked on at the end of the season.

Those games will be played across four days at Lincoln from February 8 to 11.

Last season there was just one full round-robin of games, followed by a final. But New Zealand Cricket has added another full round to help its players prepare for next year’s ICC Women’s World T20 in the West Indies.

Otago beat Canterbury by five runs in a tense final.

The Sparks open their twenty20 campaign on November 24 against Auckland at Melville Park.

The defending champions have just two home games. They play Wellington at the University Oval on December 1 and Central Districts in Oamaru on January 26.

The one-day tournament will run concurrently with the early rounds of the twenty20 competition. Otago missed out on a place in the final last season but was more than competitive. Katey Martin was the leading scorer in the tournament with 436 runs at an average of 54.50.

One-day draw
November 25, 26: v Auckland, Auckland
December 2, 3: v Wellington, University Oval
December 28, 29: v Northern Districts, Lincoln
January 13, 14: v Canterbury, Rangiora
January 27, 28: v Central Districts, Oamaru
Twenty20 draw
November 24: v Auckland, Auckland
December 1: v Wellington, University Oval
December 27: v Northern Districts, Lincoln
January 12: v Canterbury, Rangiora
January 26: v Central Districts, Oamaru
Febraury 8: v Auckland, Lincoln
February 9: v Wellington, Lincoln
February 9: v Northern Districts, Lincoln
February 10: v Canterbury, Lincoln
February 11: v Central Districts, Lincoln

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