Bunkall stars as Wellington Blaze hold off Canterbury on Sunday

Above: Michelle Bunkall, batting in her Player of the Match performance on Sunday in the Wellington Blaze's win over the Canterbury Magicians


Terrific rearguard batting and a hugely committed bowling and fielding performance that followed gave the Wellington Blaze a 30-run win over the visiting Canterbury Magicians at Linden Park on Sunday.

Winning the toss and batting first, the Blaze finished on 230 for 9. In reply Canterbury’s innings petered out on 200 for 8 at their end of their allotted 50 overs at the crease.

For the Blaze, Michelle Bunkall - batting at number 10 - provided the Blaze’s innings highlight, making 59 before being run out on the last ball of the innings. Bunkall hit five fours and one six and brought up her 50 off 57 balls.

She had steady support at the other end from wicket-keeper Andrea Stockwell (pictured right), who, batting one place higher, finished unbeaten on 30. Coming together at 133 for 8 at the end of the 30th over, the pair put on 97 runs in 20 overs - a New Zealand domestic women’s ninth wicket partnership record.

Earlier, the Blaze made a bright and breezy start and reached their first 50 in the 10th over for the loss of just one wicket. Two quick wickets put them on the back foot, before in-form captain Sophie Devine got her eye in. But she was run out for 37 off 42 balls and the innings was in trouble before Bunkall and Stockwell combined.

The Blaze carried their momentum into the second innings and had the Magicians under pressure throughout. The 42nd over was a big one for the Blaze, with Devine taking wickets in consecutive balls to suddenly leave Canterbury on 154 for 6 after starting the over on 154 for 4. From there the innings slowed and the Blaze took control.

Devine finished with 4 for 31 off her 10 overs, while spinners Lucy Doolan and Dee Doughty picked up 2 wickers apiece.

The Blaze’s third win 50-over win of the season was great reward for a frustrating weekend that had seen Saturday’s first One-Dayer abandoned due to heavy overnight rain, that particularly affected the bowler’s run-ups, and the four competition points being shared.

On Friday, the Magicians finished on top in a close Twenty20 match that was reduced to a 36-ball affair in the second innings.

Canterbury won the shortened contest by two runs via the Duckworth-Lewis system .

The match was reduced to 15 overs per side early on, with the Blaze going on to make 94 for 4. However rain once again interrupted proceedings after just six overs. Having lost no wickets the Magicians needed to be 32 without loss or above.

At 34 without loss they were two runs ahead of the target , which was good enough to get them the points, as the rain continued to pour.

Earlier Leigh Kasperek had played a sensible innings to give the Blaze a competitive total. Kasperek finished unbeaten on 34 from 32 balls.

The domestic women’s competition now takes a break until after Christmas while the White Ferns play Australia in Sydney in their four-match Rose Bowl Women’s One Day International series.

Points tables

After three rounds of five of the domestic women’s Twenty20 competition, the points table is: Canterbury Magicians 12; Wellington Blaze 8; Otago Sparks 8; Auckland Hearts 4; Central Hinds 4; Northern Spirit 0

After six matches of 10 of the domestic women’s One-Day competition, the points table is: Auckland Hearts 26; Otago Sparks 14; Wellington Blaze 14; Canterbury Magicians 12; Northern Spirit 9; Central Hinds 5

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