Otago Sparks lost to Central Hinds by four wickets
University of Otago Oval, Dunedin
20 December 2020
Heading into the back half of the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield without a win, the Otago Sparks were desperate for a change of fortune against leaders the Central Hinds on a chilly Dunedin summer's day.
After a delayed start on the damp morning, the match was reduced to 45 overs per side before Hinds captain Anlo van Deventer won the toss and bowled.
Spinner Jess Watkin quickly picked up two wickets in her opening spell, removing both openers in her second over of the day.
Hannah Rowe meanwhile again kept things tight at the top, going for just 10 runs off her first spell of five overs before second change Melissa Hansen made it 25/3 by trapping Caitlin Blakely.
Katey Martin loomed as the crucial wicket to take, however, and with Bella James (below) got the southern hundred on the board for no further loss, both nearing half centuries.
Mikaela Greig finally broke the threatening stand on 74 with James trapped on 36. Van Deventer brought back Watkin to try to add Martin, who had been joined by Polly Inglis.
Martin celebrated her sixth List A century for the Sparks, reaching the bat wave off 99 balls, after 131 minutes, 10 boundaries and two sixes.
She shared a century stand with Inglis who reached a half century herself before the stand was broken by Monique Rees (below), ending Martin's heroic dig on 105.
The Sparks went through to a total of 231 for six in their 45 overs, setting the Hinds another chase or just over five runs per over.
The Hinds made a solid start to their task with the bat, Emily Cunningham yet again threatening to post her maiden half century with a career-best 46 on the back of her 42 the day before.
She dominated the opening stand of 83 with Natalie Dodd before she was bowled by Eden Carson in the 16th over.
For once Jess Watkin did not have a major impact on the proceedings, caught early to have the Hinds 108/2. But the experienced Dodd would prove to be the Hinds' batting star of the day.
The Sparks chipped out late wickets - but by then, the Hinds were well in control of their chase thanks to the trademark calmness of Dodd, who reached her own century when just 12 further runs were required off 17 balls; just after losing two more partners in the previous over.
It was the WHITE FERN's third hundred for the Central Hinds, and she now averages more than 74.00 for the team. Previously she had seven one-day centuries for Northern Districts, averaging 38.41.
Georgia Atkinson slaughtered a six to win the match with an over to spare, Dodd finishing unbeaten on 108* off 132 balls, with 11 fours and a six of her own. The Hinds, like the chasing Magicians earlier in the afternoon, had done what they needed to do to stay on top.