The Otago Sparks and Wellington Blaze have played out a thriller in their Action Cricket Twenty20 match and were only separated in the elimination over, where Wellington came out the victors.
After winning the toss and deciding to bat, the Blaze lost wickets regularly to a well-disciplined Sparks bowling attack. White Fern Lucy Doolan was the first to go, run out for just three. Wellington continued to struggle to from a partnership, only three batsman making double figures. Sian Ruck came to the rescue for the Blaze, scoring 30 from 35 deliveries, to get her side to 108 for eight in their 20 overs.
It was an impressive all-round bowling performance by the Sparks, Victoria Abbot the pick of them, ending with figures of two for 12 off her four overs.
In reply, Otago cruised to 49 without loss, Suzie Bates and Katie Martin occupying the crease well. When Bates was dismissed on 21, Lisa Grant kept the Sparks on track and with Martin, got her team to 102 for two. With just seven runs needed to win, Martin was run out for 45 and Grant and Natasha Miles could only manage six runs to draw level with Wellington at the end of 20 overs.
That meant the game would be decided by an elimination over. Bates and Martin batted first for Otago, only managing seven runs off some tight bowling by Doolan.
Needing two to win, Megan Wakefield hit a four off the final ball to claim the most dramatic of victories for Wellington.
It was a lucky escape for Wellington after a poor batting performance. Otago will be bitterly disappointed they didn’t wrap the game up early on after such a dominant bowling performance.