Kate Ebrahim guides Otago Sparks home as they continue their unbeaten run in Super Smash

Eden Carson (L) and Kate Ebrahim celebrate Otago Sparks win © Getty Images

Collective team performance helped Otago Sparks continue their unbeaten run in the Super Smash 2021-22. Sparks registered their third win from as many matches as they beat Northern Brave by four wickets at the University of Otago Oval in Dunedin on Sunday (December 12). Kate Ebrahim guided the hosts home with an unbeaten 38 even as Kate Anderson’s fifty went in vain.

Opting to bowl, Sparks had an early wicket in the form of dangerous looking Lucy Boucher when Emma Black dismissed her a ten-ball 15. But that brought Sam Bariball to the crease as she joined Anderson. Three boundaries from the latter took Brave to 36 for one at the end of the power play.

Bariball took her time at the other end and with the score reading 60 for one in ten overs, the duo looked to accelerate and 13 runs came from the 11th over with Bariball finding her first boundary.

In the 17th over, Anderson brought up her fifty from 47 balls with a couple off Ebrahim. But her run out in the same over ended the 98-run partnership and that meant Brave couldn’t have a strong finish in the final few overs. Only 19 runs came from the last three overs as they finished their innings on 135 for four.

In the chase, Sparks had a rapid start with in-form Suzie Bates hitting three boundaries in the first ten balls she faced. However, Nensi Patel struck for Brave in the fourth over when she had Bates caught by Charlotte Sarsfield for 16 off 12 balls. Patel and Shriya Naidu bowled four tight overs from there giving away only eight runs.

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Although Katey Martin hit a boundary, with her getting run out in the ninth over, Sparks were on 49 for two at the end of it and needed 87 runs from 66 balls. Ten runs came from the next over with Polly Inglis hitting Sarsfield for a four. Sparks took another 14 runs from the 11th over bowled by Emma Baker.

Once Anderson trapped Inglis in front of the wicket for 31 to end the 46-run stand, Caitilin Blakey joined Ebrahim and added 40 runs in quick time to take Sparks closer. Both hit a boundary each in the 18th over to reduce the target to five from the last two overs.

Despite Patel accounting for Blakey and Marina Lamplough in the next over that saw three Sparks’ wicket fall, Ebrahim made sure that there were no further hiccups as she hit the winning runs with a boundary off Boucher.

For Brave, Patel was the best bowler on display with figures of three for 13 from her four overs.

Brief Scores: Northern Brave 135/4 in 20 overs (Kate Anderson 52, Sam Bariball 39; Eden Carson 1/21) lost to Otago Sparks 139/6 in 19.4 overs (Kate Ebrahim 38*, Polly Inglis 31; Nensi Patel 3/13) by four wickets