Northern Spirit defeated Otago Sparks by 1 wicket
University of Otago Oval, 1 December 2019
Northern Spirit made it two from two against the embattled Otago Sparks, but faced a nerve-wracking last over as Hayley Jensen delivered a blinder that suddenly saw Spirit nine down with one run required, and three wickets already having fallen in the final over.
Emerging as the dark horse of the competition this season - now in second spot on the table despite having finished dead last for the previous two summers, Spirit eventually scrambled the final single off the last delivery of the match to seal a tense one-wicket win over their hosts.
Earlier, new Sparks captain Ella Brown elected to bat with her side making a stronger showing on the Sunday match, reaching 271 for seven in their 50 overs. Millie Cowan (77) featured in 83-run stands for both the second and third wickets, and Hayley Jensen continued to shine with both bat and ball, again top-scoring for the Sparks with 83.
However, another half century from form Spirit opener Katie Gurrey got the northerners off to a strong start, with a 60 from captain Felicity Leydon-Davis and Kate Anderson century (102 off 75 balls) ensuring the target stayed under control - until the dramatic beginning to Jensen's last over with the ball.
Anderson had reached her second century for the Spirit with just a handful of runs required for victory, but the 50th over would be loaded with drama after three wickets fell off Jensen's first three deliveries, with the score level.
Jensen had bowled young Olivia Lobb off her first delivery, then new batsman Charlotte Sarsfield and centurion Anderson were both run out off the next two deliveries.
Spirit now had just the one wicket in hand, one run required.
Nerveless Jensen's next two deliveries were dot balls, putting the Spirit under pressure to score off the final ball in a thriller before the win was sealed with a scrambled single.