Blaze win two from three against Spirit in round two

The Wellington Blaze won two matches from three against the Northern Spirit in the second round of the domestic women’s Twenty20 and One-Day competitions played over the weekend.

Like last week’s opening round against the Hinds, the Blaze prevailed in the Twenty20 match on Friday and won one of the two 50-over encounters that followed on Saturday and Sunday.

After two rounds of five of the Twenty20 competition, the Blaze are joint leaders with the Canterbury Magicians, and after four rounds of 10 in the domestic women’s they are fourth behind early pacesetters the Auckland Hearts.

The domestic Women’s Twenty20 competition points table after two rounds of five is:

Wellington Blaze 8, Canterbury Magicians 8, Otago Sparks 4, Central Hinds 4, Auckland Hearts 0, Northern Spirit 0

The domestic Women’s One-Day competition points table after four round-robin matches of 10 is:

Auckland Hearts 18, Canterbury Magicians 10, Northern Spirit 9, Wellington Blaze 8, Central Hinds 5, Otago Sparks 4

The Blaze return home this weekend to play the Canterbury Magicians at Linden Park on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, in the last round before Christmas.

Against the Spirit, captain Sophie Devine was again instrumental in helping the Blaze achieve their two wins.

Devine scored 35 not out of 25 balls in Friday’s Twenty20 match and then scored 137 not out in Saturday’s opening One-Dayer to set up an emphatic win.

Round-ups from the three games against the Spirit are as follows:

Twenty20 match (Friday)

The Blaze won by 10 runs.

The Blaze amassed a very respectable 144 for four in the first innings, behind an impressive all-round effort from the top order.  The Spirit put up a valiant effort in the chase, but fell short at 134 for four.

Despite a late 33 from Nicola Browne, the home side were unable to keep up with the required run-rate and the Blaze began to close in on victory.

Deanna Doughty played a huge part with the ball, bowling four overs for just 13 runs and dismissing overseas player Stalenberg.

Earlier, the Blaze got off to a flying start and never looked back.

Asha Smith (42) and Lucy Doolan (22) got the ball rolling, before Doolan was caught in the eighth over. She was more than ably replaced by Sophie Devine though, who then whacked 35 off 25 balls.

Leigh Kasperek also contributed with 33 to really hurt the Spirit and set an extremely challenging total of 145.
No bowler was safe for the Spirit, but best of the bunch was Brooke Kirkbride who took two for 30.

One-Day match (Saturday)

The Blaze won by 60 runs.

Behind an explosive 137 not out from captain Sophie Devine, the Blaze posted 322 for four from 50 overs, before holding the Spirit to 262 for five.

Devine launched off in an innings which featured a whopping ten sixes and nine fours and came off just 73 balls.

A solid 65 from Lucy Doolan and 61 from Asha Smith were helpful, but were completely overshadowed by an innings of sheer power from their skipper.

Devine took apart the Spirit bowling attack with some incredible power and led the Blaze to become the first team of the 2012/13 season to surpass 300.

She remained unbeaten at the end of the 50 overs, having brought up her second century of the season.

One-Day match (Sunday)

The Spirit won by 36 runs.

Behind two centuries from Natalie Dodd and Nicola Browne, the Spirit posted 243 for three from their 50 overs.  In reply the Blaze fought hard but fell short when they were dismissed for 207.

They key moment in the pursuit came in the 21st over, when Devine was dismissed for 40. It left the visitors at 97 for four.

A number of the middle and lower order made handy starts but no one was able to go on and make the big score the Blaze needed.

Andrea Stockwell was the next highest scorer after Devine on 33, while seven players overall got scores of 17 or higher.
Earlier Dodd and Browne had put on 246 for the third wicket.

The pair came together with their side in the precarious position of being four for two. They slowly but surely set about reviving the innings and took their side past the 200 mark.  

Browne was the first one to bring up triple figures, reaching the landmark off 127 balls. To make the innings even more exceptional, Browne brought up 3100 domestic runs to become the most prolific women’s run scorer.

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