A six-wicket win for the Otago Sparks at home in Dunedin provided Katey Martin’s southerners with a timely New Year’s boost on the T20 points ladder. It also made Northern Spirit's job much harder, now, with just one more opportunity left for points.
Sparks captain Martin put Northern Spirit in and, after the Sparks dislodged Katie Gurrey to end a 43-run opening stand with Natalie Dodd, they met with little more resistance from the remainder of the Spirit order as the Sparks attack fired up. Dodd’s 21-ball 24 proved the highest score as the Northerners clung on, nine down, through to their 20 overs.
Vicky Holden’s T20 career best 3-13 had included the important wicket of Dodd, while one of Otago’s talented young Heffernan twins, Kate (2-15) and WHITE FERNS off-spinner Leigh Kasperek (2-11) each helped themselves to an economical brace.
It was Heffernan’s second T20 match, having debuted in Lincoln in the previous round, and the stylish Gurrey would be her maiden wicket.
Although a low-scoring game, Kasperek’s 27 at the top and an unbeaten 23 from Holden was enough to take the pressure off as the Sparks scooted home to wrap up their points in the 17th over — winning the match with a boundary.
Both teams now sit mid-table on six points, as do the Central Hinds. The Auckland Hearts are already in second spot, and meet the Blaze in the remaining round four match tomorrow: a Hearts win, or even washout, would confirm the Canterbury Magicians and Hearts as the finalists with a full round to spare.