Wellington Blaze clinch a nail-biter to win 8th Super Smash title

The Wellington Blaze led by skipper Amelia Kerr clinched an edge-of-the-seat thriller against the Central Districts led by skipper Natalie Dodd in the final to claim their record 8th title in the history of the Women’s Super Smash tournament and is the most successful franchise of the league.

Wellington Blaze clinch an edge-of-the-seat thriller to claim their 8th Super Smash title. PC: Getty
Wellington Blaze clinch an edge-of-the-seat thriller to claim their 8th Super Smash title. PC: Getty

 

The Central Districts led by skipper Natalie Dodd had a decent season as they finished at the 3rd position in the points table with 22 points to their name from 10 games which includes 4 victories, one tied game against the Wellington Blaze, and a couple of washedout games during their campaign in the league stages. They defeated the Northern Districts led by skipper Eimear Richardson in the Eliminator by 45 runs to book a place in the final with Wellington Blaze.

On the other hand, Wellington Blaze led by skipper Amelia Kerr had a wonderful campaign as they finished at the top of the points table during the league stages with 32 points from 10 games including 7 victories, one tied game against the Central Districts, and one washout game against the Auckland Hearts. Their only defeat in the league stages came against the Northern Districts when they failed to defend the target of 111. They received a direct qualification into the tournament’s final, courtesy of their top-of-the-table finish in the league stages.

Wellington Blaze were all set to face Central Districts in the final. The Wellington Blaze skipper Amelia Kerr won the toss and opted to bat first in the final. The much-anticipated final between the two best sides of the tournament had to be eventually curtailed to a 17-overs per side contest courtesy of a rain delay. The Wellington Blaze got off to a poor start losing their first four wickets for just 24 runs inside the powerplay. The mini-collapse was triggered by Rosemary Mair as she accounted for 3 of Central District’s first four wickets in the powerplay.

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Kate Chandler joined skipper Amelia Kerr at the crease and the duo stitched a crucial 20-run partnership for the 5th wicket before Claudia Green picked up the wicket of Kate Chandler to provide the 5th breakthrough for Central Districts. Jess Kerr joined skipper Amelia Kerr at the crease and the duo stitched another crucial 24-run partnership for the 6th wicket before Ashtuti Kumar picked up the wicket of Jess Kerr to provide the 6th breakthrough for her side.

The Wellington women suffered a mini collapse as they lost their last four wickets for just 21 runs and as a result, they were bundled out for just 89 in their quota of overs. Skipper Amelia Kerr (35 off 35 balls) was the lone warrior for her side alongside Natasha Codyre (12 off 4 balls), who provided the finishing touches to take the total close to the 100-run mark. Rosemary Mair (4-1-5-4), and Claudia Green (3-0-12-2) were the top performers with the ball for Central Districts.

Chasing a target of 90, the Central Districts openers got off to a steady start, scoring just over 6 runs an over before Sophie Devine picked up the wicket of Hollie Armitage to provide the first breakthrough for Wellington Blaze. Thamsyn Newton joined skipper Natalie Dodd at the crease and the duo stitched a crucial 29-run partnership for the 2nd wicket before Leigh Kasperek picked up the massive wicket of the opposition skipper Natalie Dodd to provide the 2nd breakthrough for her side. Hannah Rowe joined Thamsyn Newton at the crease and the duo stitched another crucial 20-run partnership for the third wicket before Jess Kerr cleaned up Hannah Rowe to provide the third breakthrough for the Wellington Blaze.

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The Central Districts were eventually restricted to 88/5 in their quota of overs as they fell just 1 runs short of claiming the championship title. Thamsyn Newton (27 off 42 balls) and Hollie Armitage (21 off 17 balls) were the top performers with the bat for Central Districts. Skipper Amelia Kerr (4-0-14-0), and Leigh Kasperek (4-0-21-1) were the top performers with the ball for Wellington Blaze.

Skipper Amelia Kerr was awarded the Player of the Match for her brilliant all-round show, scoring (35 off 35 balls) with the bat and returning with match figures (4-0-14-0) in her spell with the ball. She played a crucial role in helping the Wellington Blaze clinch their 8th Super Smash title. She was the leading run-scorer with 437 runs to her name at a humongous average of 72.83 with the bat in 10 innings and was also the leading wicket-taker of the tournament with the ball with 20 wickets to her name at an average of 8.95 in 10 innings.

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