Wellington Blaze is looking the team to beat this summer. PHOTOSPORT

Blaze show off their depth

ROUND THREE

Otago Sparks lost to Wellington Blaze by 91 runs at University of Otago Oval, Dunedin on 2 December 2017

Scorecard

Wellington Blaze continued their scorching start to the summer by showing they could overpower their competition even without rocket-boosted input from Sophie Devine and Rachel Priest.

Both were back in the hutch early after Blaze captain Liz Perry won the toss and batted, Lucy Doolan soon following as Suzie Bates gleefully collected the return catch that had Blaze just 38 for three in the 10th over.

Bates would carry on for a class 3-36 off her 10 overs, and Sophie Oldershaw would pick up 3-47, but the celebrations would become progressively more muted through the innings as the Blaze build a series of restorative partnerships to get themselves well in charge.

Amelia Kerr had a solid all-round game. MButcher/NZC

Amelia Kerr stepped in at five and got all the way to 74 before Bates finally trapped her in the 40th over. By then, the consistent Fran Wilson had chipped in with 39 and Eimear Richardson, at eight, was well on her way to smashing a quick half century, her 55 coming off 45 balls.

That wasn't the end of the damage, however. Jess Kerr further frustrated Bates and her side thanks to a 31-ball unbeaten 42 belted from her position of 10, the score blowing out from 177 for seven to 247 for nine, Blaze seeing out their overs after all after she and Richardson had poured on a 68-run stand for the ninth wicket.

If chasing 260 had not been the plan for the hosts, neither was losing regular wickets. Blaze again proved themselves polished performers with the ball as they rattled through the order, Polly Inglis's 34 the best of the response as the Sparks careered to 169 all out with seven overs not required.

Young leg-spinning star Amelia Kerr made key breakthroughs at the top on her way to 3-37 and Doolan hauled in a good 3-33 that all but finished off the winless Sparks.

The two side meet again at the same venue tomorrow, entry to all Hallyburton Johnstone Shield cricket is free.

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