Bates, Jensen shine as Otago Sparks beat Central Hinds by eight runs

Suzie Bates in action for Otago Sparks. © Getty Images

A cracking half-century from Suzie Bates and a four-wicket-haul for Hayley Jensen helped Otago Sparks beat Central Hinds in their opening match of the Super Smash by eight runs at the University Oval in Dunedin on Sunday (November 28).

Hinds captain Jess Watkin won the toss and invited Sparks to bat first, removing opener Polly Inglis in the fifth over. Bates, who was joined by her good friend Katey Martin, then hit Claudia Green for two back-to-back boundaries in the following over, taking her team to 37 for 1 in the power play.

Bates and Martin added 75 runs for the third wicket with the former bringing up her half-century in 40 balls. Martin was run out for 29 in the 15th over, and Bates followed her back into the pavilion a couple of overs later – caught and bowled by Watkin for 64.

Otago’s innings imploded towards the end, with the senior duo of Hayley Jensen and Kate Ebrahim losing their wickets in quick succession, as the hosts stuttered to 134 for 6 in their 20 overs.

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In reply, Hinds got off to the perfect start as Watkin hit 31 runs in the power play. Her opening partner, Natalie Dodd, however, never looked comfortable as she was run out for nine. The tables turned in favor of Sparks the very next over as Sophie Oldershaw stuck twice to remove Emily Cummingham and Hannah Rowe. The economical Jensen then dismissed Watkin for 32 with Bates taking the catch.

From the precarious position of 61 for 5 in 11.3 overs, Georgia Atkinson and Kerry-Anne Tomlinson tried to steady the chase with a partnership of 59 runs. Atkinson was the more aggressive of the two batters, scoring 37 runs off 24 balls including six fours.

With Hinds needing 15 runs off the last two overs, Bates handed the ball to Jensen, who bowled a spectacular penultimate over. The medium pacer held her nerve superbly, bowling full, straight and varying her pace smartly. She conceded just two runs, also taking three wickets along the way. Her heroics left Ebrahim with 13 runs to defend in the final over. She conceded only four, helping Sparks to a nervy eight-run win.

Brief Scores: Otago Sparks 134/6 in 20 overs (Suzie Bates 64, Katey Martin 29; Jess Watkin 2-22) beat Central Hinds 126 all out in 20 overs (Georgia Atkinson 37, Jess Watkin 32; Hayley Jensen 4-20) by eight runs.