The Wellington Blaze proved too good for the Otago Sparks, both batting and bowling well to beat the Southerners by 43 runs.
The Blaze decided to bat first after winning the toss and despite losing the early wicket of Suzie McDonald, they got off to a fine start. Lucy Doolan (45) and Sarah Taylor (51) navigated Wellington to 116 before Taylor was dismissed by Alana Kane. It didn’t get any easier for the Sparks’ bowlers though, as Megan Wakefield came in and went at a run a ball for her 73. She would have been disappointed though, the first of three Wellington batsmen to be run out. The middle order continued to make runs and after 50 overs the Blaze found themselves at 272 for eight.
Unfortunately from the Sparks’ perspective, the Blaze were gifted 27 runs from wides alone. Tanya Morrison was the pick of the bowlers, going for just 32 in her ten overs.
In reply Otago got off to the worst possible start, losing Kylie Crowley for a duck. However opener Katie Martin and Captain Suzie Bates got the Sparks back on track, as they put on 95 for the third wicket. Bates narrowly missed her 100, making 92 before falling to Wakefield. Unfortunately that put an end to the Spark’s run chase, all out for 229 in the 47th over.
Wellington had a good all-round performance with the ball. Wakefield was the chief wicket taker, taking for three for 33 in 6.5 overs. Sian Ruck also bowled well and collected figures of two for 24 off eight overs.
Otago will be looking for some of their youngsters to contribute with the bat more, only four players making double digits. For Wellington it’s a decent start to their campaign, as they look to go one better than last year when they were runners up.