All-round Otago Sparks register second win over Central Hinds in HBJ Shield

All-round Otago Sparks register second win over Central Hinds in HBJ Shield

Polly Inglis, Eden Carson and Emma Black in action for Otago Sparks. © Getty Images

A half century from Polly Inglis and three-fers from Emma Black and Eden Carson helped Otago Sparks record a massive 82-run victory over Central Hinds in the opening weekend of the 2021-22 season of the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield at the Saxton Oval in Nelson on Sunday (31 October).

Having chosen to bat first, the Sparks got off to a quick start, with the previous game's half-centurion, Kate Ebrahim, finding the boundary consistently. However, the right-hander's cameo was cut short by Claudia Green in the seventh over for a 20-ball 22. Skipper " rel="noopener noreferrer">Suzie Bates (6), who was struggling at the other end, fell in the following over, caught and bowled to her opposite number Jess Watkin, and just like that the hosts had been reduced to 33 for 2 in 7.2 overs.

It was that at that stage that Inglis and Caitlin Blakely joined hands to provide some stability to the innings. They kept the scoring rate at close to a run-a-ball, finding the boundary at regular intervals, and turning over the strike beautifully. Inglis, who was the aggressor, through the partnership, brought up a half-century off just 57 deliveries. The pair recorded a 108-ball century partnership, before Blakely became Watkin's second victim - caught for 34.

The right-hander's wicket, sparked a bit of a collapse with the Hinds fighting their way back into the game courtesy Watkin's off-spin. The skipper removed Sparks' international, Hayley Jensen for seven, and sent back Inglis for a 72-ball 68 a couple of overs later.

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At 166 for 5 with close to 20 overs left in the innings, Sparks turned to the experience of " rel="noopener noreferrer">Katey Martin. The veteran didn't disappoint, carrying on from where she left after an unbeaten half-century in the last game. She guided the lower order through the back end of the innings, collecting an unbeaten 49 along the way. Although Melissa Hansen's three-wicket haul helped the Hinds bowl out the Sparks with four balls to spare, Martin's knock ensured they posted a challenging total of 265.

In typical style, Watkin got the chase off to a blistering start, crunching four boundaries in the first four overs before she was undone by Hayley Jensen for 16. Cate Pedersen and Kerry-Anne Tomlinson then shepherded the team past the 50-run mark before Carson sparked a middle-order collapse. The off-spinner dismissed Tomlinson (14) and Hannah Rowe (3) in quick succession. Pedersen then arrested the fall with a 50-run fourth wicket stand alongside Gemma Sims (36), but Carson returned in the 34th over, to dismiss the latter, and that wicket marked the end of any resistance.

Sparks seamer Black returned to the attack after a wicketless first spell, and picked up three cheap wickets at the end to finish with figures of 3 for 23.

Although Green (12) hung around with Mikaela Greig (33*) to prolong the innings, there was too much left for Hinds' last wicket pair to do. They eventually folded for 183 in 44.4 overs, suffering their second loss in as many days.

Brief Scores: Otago Sparks 265 in 49.2 overs (Polly Inglis 69, Katey Martin 49*; Jess Watkin 4-33, Melissa Hansen 3-29) beat Central Hinds 183 in 44.4 overs (Cate Pedersen 39, Mikaela Greig 36*; Emma Black 3-23, Eden Carson 3-31) by 82 runs.

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