Sparks off to winning start

Katey Martin cracked an unbeaten 59 to lead the Otago Sparks past the Auckland Hearts for a nine wicket win via the Duckworth-Lewis system.  

The opening round Twenty20 match in Invercargill was an entertaining spectacle, with the Sparks getting to 88 for one off 14 overs, before rain ended their pursuit of the visitors first-innings score of 111 for eight. 

Luckily for the southerners, the Duckworth-Lewis system was on their side and they claimed a comprehensive victory. 

The performance of the game came from Martin, who romped her way to an opening round half-century from just 40 balls. In total she struck nine fours and remained at the crease until weather forced the players from the field. 

Captain Suzie Bates was the only wicket to fall, dismissed by Lauren Down for 19. 

Earlier, the Hearts had bounced back from an indifferent start with the bat to post a challenging total. 

Having been 16 for three, the visitors were then carried back into the match by Victoria Lindsay (32). Alongside Katie Perkins (19) and Holly Huddleston (17), Lindsay breathed life into the Hearts again and would have been happy with the target they set the Sparks. 

The early damage with the ball had been done by Suzie Bates, who finished with figures of two for 15 from four overs. Sarah Tsukigawa was also impressive and finished with identical stats to her skipper. 

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