Allround Amelia Kerr takes Wellington Blaze to Super Smash Final

Amelia Kerr and Maddy Green in action. © Getty Images

Wellington Blaze will face Canterbury Magicians in the final of the Super Smash 2021 as an allround performance from Amelia Kerr helped them trump Auckland Hearts by 35 runs in the eliminator on Thursday (February 11).

Chasing 151, the Hearts were off to a worst possible start as Sophie Devine castled the stumps with an in-dipper to dismiss Anna Peterson off the first ball of the innings. Katie Perkins, who walked in at number three, tried to build a partnership with her captain Lauren Down.

However, they could add only 18 runs before Maneka Singh removed Down for 13 from 11 balls. After six overs the Hearts were struggling at 26 for two.

Bella Armstrong joined Perkins in the middle and turned things around as she hit back-to-back boundaries off Maddy Green. Perkins, too, emulated the same off Singh a couple of overs later. Together, they scored 65 runs from 59 balls before Green broke the partnership as she dismissed Armstrong for 33 runs from 27 balls. 

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Meanwhile, Perkins fought hard to keep the chase at the other end. However, they lost three wickets in a span of four balls in the Amelia Kerr over. First, Holly Huddleston fell for six runs from nine balls followed by a direct hit from Xara Ketly to dismiss Arlene Kelly off the very next delivery. 

A couple of deliveries later Devine took a brilliant catch at long-on to get rid off Perkins who made a fighting 46 from 57 balls. The Hearts, eventually, fell short by 35 runs finishing at 115 for seven after 20 overs.

Earlier, after winning the toss and opting to bat, the Blaze openers Devine and skipper Maddy Green provided a positive start. They kept the scoreboard moving by rotating the strike while picking up occasional boundaries. 

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Devine was the aggressor in the partnership that was blooming into a rather big one. With Green, she added 51 runs in the first seven overs. Fran Jonas, who had just earned her national call-up, was brought into the attack to break the partnership, and she did not disappointment. 

Jonas trapped Devine, who seamlessly cruised her way to a 29-ball 33, on the backfoot and provided the initial breakthrough. Joined by Amelia, Green took charge and added 42 runs for the second wicket before she got out to Jonas for 32 runs from 29 balls. 

Peterson dismissed Rebecca Burns shortly after for a run-a-ball eight. Jess Kerr caught in a mix-up and got run out without facing a delivery. From 92 for one, Blaze went to 104 for four in a span of 12 deliveries.

Amelia, who held fort at the other end, launched a counterattack on the Heart bowlers. She hit consecutive boundaries off Jesse Prasad and smashed a couple more off Holly Huddleston in the next over. She raced her way to a half-century in 38 balls and helped Blaze get to the 150-run mark. Jonas was the pick of the bowlers as she finished with two for 23 in her four overs. 

Brief Scores:

Wellington Blaze: 150/6 in 20 overs (Amelia Kerr 54*, Fran Jonas 2/23) beat Auckland Hearts: 115 in 20 overs (Katey Perkins 46, Amelia Kerr 2/16) by 35 runs.