Otago Sparks beat Wellington Blaze by 138 runs to win the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield

Otago Sparks beat Wellington Blaze by 138 runs to win the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield

Otago Sparks © Getty Images

Half-centuries from Kate Ebrahim and Caitlin Blakely led Otago Sparks to their third Hallyburton Johnstone Shield title on Sunday (February 27) at John Davies Oval in Queenstown. Sparks bagged their first title since the 2013-14 season after Wellington Blaze were bowled out for 82 as Eden Carson took five wickets. 

In the grand final of the competition, Otago Sparks won the toss and opted to bat first. After losing Isabelle James early, captain Ebrahim and Blakely gave Sparks a steady start. The pair added 34 runs in the powerplay without losing any more wickets. Once the powerplay was over, the duo started the counter-attack with Blakely leading the charge. She hit Natasha Codyr to two back-to-back fours, including a beautiful straight drive. 

This counter-attack frustrated Blaze, but it was fruitless as the partnership continued to grow. Otago crossed the 100-run mark in the 27th over, and soon after that Blakely brought up her half-century off 74 balls. When the pair brought the partnership of 100 runs in the 31st over, Ebrahim’s contribution was 38 off 73 balls. She changed the gears and scored yet another half-century in the competition once Blakely was trapped in front by Kate Chandler for 57.

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None of the other Sparks batters could build the partnership with Ebrahim as they went through a mini-collapse. Ebrahim was stranded at the other end when her team lost wickets in quick succession. In the final over of the innings, Ebrahim herself was run-out trying to steal a second run that was not there. Sparks scored 220 for nine in the first innings. For Wellington Blaze Chandler took three wickets and she was supported by Xara Jately with two wickets.

In reply, Harriett Cuttance stuck in her first over to send Rebecca Burns back for just four. Blaze’s wicketkeeper Jessica McFadyen was next to depart as she became the first wicket of Emma Black. Playing without their international players, Wellington were like deer in the headlights and could not manage to have a meaningful partnership in the chase. Black added two more wickets to her tally and Blaze were 30 for four by the end of the powerplay.

Ebrahim introduced Carson in the final over of the powerplay and she started with a maiden over against Jetly. In her second over, she got rid of Jately with an lbw, who was trying to play a pull shot. Thamsyn Newton followed the suit when she misjudged a rank full-toss with Ebrahim taking an easy catch. The procession of wickets continued for Blaze as they lost the final four wickets for just 28 runs.

Carson took five wickets, while Black supported her with a three-wicket haul to seal the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield for Otago Sparks. 

 

Brief Score: 

Otago Sparks: 220/9 in 50 overs (Kate Ebrahim 92, Caitlin Blakely 57; Kate Chandler 3/30) beat Wellington Blaze 82 all out in 28.5 overs (Thamsyn Newton 15, Deanna Doughty 13;  Eden Carson 5/17) by 138 runs

 

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