The Wellington Blaze have made a massive statement in their Action Cricket Tenty20 competition opener, cruising past the Otago Sparks with nine wickets in hand.
After winning the toss and electing to bat, Sparks captain Katie Martin looked in fine touch for her first time at the crease this season. She batted well for her 39 and set up a solid platform for her team mates.
Unfortunately though, the Sparks failed to form a lasting partnership, failing to push on to a big score.
A key figure in the Sparks line-up, Suzie Bates was dismissed for early for seven and middle order batsman Kylie Crowley was going along nicely before being run out on twenty. At the end of their 20 overs the Southerners had put on 121 for 5.
Wellington bowled economically, but Dee Dougherty was the pick of the bowlers, collecting two wickets, including the prized one of Martin.
In reply, Otago got off to the perfect start, Suzie Bates grabbing Blaze opener Megan Wakefield for a duck. But that would be as good as it got for the Sparks. Lucy Doolan and Sarah Taylor put on an unbeaten 115 run partnership, both scoring 50s in the process.
Doolan wasted no time out in the middle, smashing 57 off 56 balls. Taylor however wasn’t going to be outdone, crushing 57 from just 47 deliveries. The Sparks bowlers had no answer for the Blaze batting attack, Wellington chasing down the 121 with two overs and nine wickets to spare.
For Otago it’s a hard start to the competition, but the batting line up showed some signs of promise. Wellington’s performance though will have other teams, particularly last year’s champions the Canterbury Magicians, on high alert. A great start to the season for the 2010 runners-up.