For some, the number thirteen is unlucky but for a certain teenager from New Zealand the ‘unlucky 13’ has become the number of fortune! The teenager in this case is Amelia Kerr. She is that seventeen year old member of ‘White Ferns’ (The New Zealand Women’s Cricket team), who became the possessor of some serious records on 13th of June while playing against Ireland Women.
She opened the innings, carried her bat for 50 overs to score 232 runs and became the highest scorer in women’s limited over cricket surpassing Belinda Clark’s 229 against Denmark in Mumbai during 1997 Women’s World Cup. This is the 9th Double century in limited over cricket, combined men and women’s game and 3rd highest behind Rohit Sharma’s mammoth 264 and Martin Guptil’s 237. She also became the youngest player to score a double century in any format of both men and women, beating the long standing record of Javed Miandad, who scored a double century at 19 years 140 days.
But not being satisfied by her batting heroics, Amelia took a quick nap during the innings break, came back to field and promptly finished with 5 for 17 with her leg break. This is incidentally the primary skill for which she was selected in the team back in 2016, barely a month after her 16th Birthday.
Amelia is from a sporting family with her Grandfather Bruce Murray being a prominent cricketer during late 60’s and played 13 tests for New Zealand Men’s team. Both her parents played domestic cricket for Wellington and it was not a surprise when young Amelia found herself more comfortable in the ground with an old ball in hand than in the Mathematics class remembering the formulas. Initially her father suggested her to start leg spin bowling and by the time she was sixteen, she was already making a name in Wellington cricket circuit and playing with established players like Sophie Devine, one of her idols.
Based on her performance in her first seven matches that included two Four-Wicket hauls (one of them was against the then world champion, Australia), she was selected for the 2017 Women’s World Cup in England which made her the youngest Kiwi player to represent New Zealand in a Cricket World Cup. Being a spinner, people were sceptical about her success in the World Cup; however she proved her metal and finished with 10 wickets in the tournament, with a four wicket haul against eventual champion England although in a losing cause.
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She started focusing more on her batting after establishing her place in ‘White Ferns’. It was a challenge as the New Zealand Women’s team has one of the strongest top order batting line ups in Women’s game including Suzie Bates, the record run scorer for New Zealand in Women’s game.
Still Kerr kept improving herself and focussed on getting the strength and power in her shots which was initially missing because of her early beginning. And the result is now in front of us! Ireland despite being a weak team in papers, the numbers produced by Kerr on that day was magnificent. With a Strike rate of 160 driven by 31 Fours and 2 Sixes, she also became a part of second highest limited over partnership in Women’s cricket, 295 runs with Leigh Kasperek.
Till now in 20 LOIs she has scored 406 runs with an astonishing average of 67.66 and strike rate close to 138. Add 36 wickets at an average of around 18 and you would realise why she is a potential match winner in the making!
The Women’s game is now on ascendancy with more media coverage, more focus, global leagues and regular matches. However to make the game more popular you also need global superstars, players who can be household names in any part of the cricketing world. With upcoming stars like Smriti Mandhana and Ashleigh Gardner, Amelia is the new familiar name to the fans who we can look up to and who certainly has the potential to reach new heights and carry the women’s cricket.