Otago Sparks lost to Central Hinds by 9 wickets (DLS), bonus point win
University of Otago Oval, Dunedin
19 December 2020
The return of Sparks veteran and WHITE FERN Katey Martin - whilst the Central Hinds remained without the services of WHITE FERNS bowler Rosemary Mair (building up bowling loads after MIQ) made for an interesting contest between the winless Sparks and high-flying Hinds.
Looking to reclaim top spot on the table, the Hinds would dismiss their southern hosts in the last over after having been asked to bowl first.
With the threat of weather lurking around, it was another overall lean bowling performance from the Central attack, Hannah Rowe mopping up to claim 4-23 off just 6.4 overs - just four runs behind her career best, while Mikaela Greig was an economy standout with 2-29 off her set of 10.
It was Greig who had got the big wicket of Martin early, the southern keeper stumped on just 19 after Melissa Hansen had taken two cheap wickets at the top.
First drop Caitlin Blakely meanwhile held the Sparks together for as long as she could, batting into the death with a top score of 62 in their total of 196 all out.
That left the Hinds a chase of 3.94 per over, however the rain arrived at lunchtime. By mid-afternoon, following a DLS adjustment the Hinds' target was recalculated at 135 runs off 25 overs, a required rate of 5.40 per over.
Emily Cunningham opened with the more experienced Natalie Dodd (below) who cracked four consecutive boundaries off Emma Black to soon show the visitors' intent.
The chase quickly gathered momentum with the Hinds ticking off half their target inside the first 12 of the 25 overs, for no loss.
By drinks, the Hinds needed just a further 62 runs at 5.64 RPO - a chase that was down to the last 40 off 48 when Sparks pocket rocket Eden Carson broke through with Cunningham's wicket.
It was the perfect answer to Cunningham who had just hit her for her first six, the opener's 49-ball 42 just shy of her career best 45*.
That was Dodd's score at the time of her departure, and the veteran would go on to an unbeaten half century.
But the wicket was a double-edged sword for the hosts as it brought the destructive Jess Watkin to the middle.
Watkin belted a boundary first ball to bring up the Hinds' 100 in the 18th. Then she sent Marina Lamplough's follow-up delivery sailing over rope, amid 16 runs off the over.
Spinner Bhagya Herath came back on for the 19th: Watkin pelted her for three sixes off the first three deliveries, then a boundary ... 24 flying off the over in all to win the match in a hurry then and there, with a whole six overs to spare.
Watkin finished on 33 not out off just nine balls as the Hinds bagged their fourth bonus point from five matches to reclaim their lead at the top of the table.