Put into bat by Hinds, Sparks had a whirlwind start with skipper Suzie Bates hitting first three balls to the boundary off Claudia Green. But Bates didn’t last long as Green got the revenge in her next over to dismiss the experienced batter for 12.
Ebrahim – playing in her first List A game for Sparks after making a move from Canterbury Magicians before the season – found a company in Bella James, batting at number three, to give them a solid start. They started slowly as James played out a maiden against Hannah Rowe before Ebrahim found a boundary off the same bowler.
The duo took Sparks over the three-figure mark in the 24th over with Ebrahim bringing up her fifty in 70 balls. Soon James also joined her at the landmark as she got to her third List A fifty from 86 balls. In the 29th over, Melissa Hansen broke the 118-run partnership with the wicket of James.
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That brought Martin to the crease and she was busy at the crease from the beginning, rotating strike with Ebrahim before hitting her first boundary off Jess Watkin. Post that, there was no stopping the New Zealand wicket-keeper as she took on Hinds’ bowlers with a flurry of boundaries. She reached her fifty from 48 balls.
Martin smashed Monique Rees for consecutive boundaries before repeating the feat against Watkin. She was severe on all the bowlers, but took a liking to Watkin and Mikaela Greig. The 36-year-old launched Watkin over the ropes and took a single to reach to seventh List A century in the 49th over. 16 runs came in the final over bowled by Greig as Sparks amassed a mammoth total of 291 for two.
Hinds were never in the chase with Sparks’ opening bowlers wreaking havoc. ME Loe first accounted for Cate Pedersen before Black got the big-wicket of Hinds skipper Watkin to leave them at five for two in the third over.
Soon, Hinds found themselves reeling at 36 for six by the 15th over with Loe striking two more times and Black removing Rowe. Although Greig and Georgia Atkinson added 26 runs for the seventh wicket to take them to 62, medium-pacer Black came back to remove Atkinson and also picked up two more wickets on her way to the five-wicket haul. Greig was the last one to fall – she top-scored with 26 – as Hinds were skittled out for 78 in 26.1 overs.
For Sparks, Black was the most successful bowler with figures of five for 28 and Loe took three wickets giving away just seven runs.
Brief Scores: Otago Sparks 291/2 in 50 overs (Katey Martin 111*, Kate Ebrahim 96*, Bella James 53) beat Central Hinds 78/10 in 26.1 overs (Mikaela Greig 26; Emma Black 5/28, ME Loe 3/7) by 213 runs.