The SBS Bank Otago Sparks made an emphatic start to their 2015/16 Twenty20 campaign, thrashing the Auckland Hearts by eight wickets.
After captain Suzie Bates put the Hearts in at Eden Park Outer Oval, the hosts initially got off to a good start, home captain Victoria Lind and Sam Curtis putting on 64 for the first wicket, Curtis posting the 50 with the first six of the day.
But when exacting spinner Morna Nielsen had Curtis caught in the 12th over, it triggered a landslip that saw the next five wickets fall at regular intervals, including a run out off the last ball to halt the Hearts’ tally at 120/6.
Warm ups for the Hearts as they get set to defend 120 v Otago Sparks https://t.co/YEiwWJHMdq— Auckland Cricket (@aucklandcricket) November 27, 2015
In reply it took a former and current WHITE FERN to remove national skipper Bates, who helped post the Sparks’ 100 in just the 12th over as she glided to a run-a-ball half century, including a six and four boundaries, before being caught by Holly Huddleston off Anna Peterson in the 18th over.
By then, just two runs remained for victory, Katey Martin finishing unbeaten with a run-a-ball 29.
The result meant a winning T20 start for the Sparks’ Southland debutante Ella Brown, who is yet to have a bat or bowl.