Auckland edges classic encounter

Suzie Bates hit a State League record 183 not out for State Otago Sparks in Auckland – but ended up on the losing side of a remarkable game at Melville Park.

The teenager (pictured) hit a breathtaking 183 to give Otago 274 for four from their 50 overs, their highest-ever score and the fifth-highest in State League history.

However, a century from State Auckland Hearts’ White Fern Rebecca Rolls in a 188-run opening stand with Ros Kember earned her side a four-wicket victory which had appeared highly unlikely.

Bates told nzcricket.co.nz: “I’ve just got really mixed emotions about it. When you get a score like that, you think you will have a chance of winning.

“It’s pretty amazing. I’m really stoked about the innings, but disappointed about the result. Hopefully, we can get back at them tomorrow.”

Otago won the toss and batted first and lost two early wickets. However, Bates came to the crease at first drop, and carried her bat for the rest of the innings.

Dropped on 12 when the fielder was blinded by the sun, she smashed her record knock from only 152 balls, eclipsing Kate Pulford's 153 not out for Central Districts v Canterbury in Christchurch six years ago.

Her fifties came off 46, 47 and 38 balls respectively and at 18 years, 117 days she is the youngest centurion in the competition, beating the record set by Tamara Gould by 87 days.

The fourth-wicket partnership of 86 by Bates and Katey Martin was a record for Otago against any team, as was the unbroken fifth-wicket partnership of 109 between Bates and player-coach Clare Taylor.

However, Auckland – and Rolls - were in no mood to be beaten. Rolls piled up almost 40 before opening partner Kember had tallied, and kept up a phenomenal pace before Rolls went for 110 off just 89 balls, her century coming from 76 balls.

Kember followed soon after for 66, and although Auckland slowed their rate, they took an incredible victory with three balls to spare.

The opening partnership was a record by Auckland against any team, while the total of 275 was the highest successful chase in the competition and the match aggregate of 549 the highest ever.

Former England international Taylor said: “Obviously we let Rebecca Rolls off the hook a couple of times. But that’s cricket, it really is a great leveller.”

“We’ve got quite an inexperienced side and we perhaps don’t have enough experience about how to close games. It’s great for Susie, but it’s a shame we just couldn’t do it for her.”

Taylor also played for England when former White Fern Kirsty Flavell hit her New Zealand-record 204 in 1996.

She added: “It must be me! I think I must always be there for these big scores.”

The side play the second leg of their double header at Melville Park tomorrow.

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