Sophie Devine, Leigh Kasperek to miss Super Smash opening fixture

Devine in action during WBBL06. © Getty Images

New Zealand skipper Sophie Devine and allrounder Leigh Kasperek are set to miss the opening game of the Super Smash 2020-21 between the defending champions Wellington Blaze and Auckland Hearts at the Basin Reserve on Thursday (December 24).

After completing their stints in the Women’s Big Bash League and the Women’s T20 Challenge, the duo is yet to make a return to domestic cricket. While Kasperek is expected to join the squad ahead of their third fixture on New Year’s day against the Northern Spirit and Devine would return for their second home match on January 9, 2021.

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However, allrounder Amelia Kerr and Maddy Green have joined the squad ahead of the first game in the tournament after completing their quarantine.

Speaking about their return, Blaze head coach Ivan Tissera said that they are delighted to have their skipper Green and Kerr them back in the squad.

“Both players are experienced internationals and are in T20 mode after their time over in Australia and it’s always great for the overall team morale bringing back players of their stature,” Tissera added.

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He said that the players are excited to get back to cricket after spending time in isolation, adding, “we’re looking forward to seeing how they go tomorrow.”

In the absence of Devine and Kasperek, the young batter Georgia Plimmer and seamer Natasha Codyre are expected to make their Super Smash debuts against the Hearts on Thursday.

As a celebration of cricket and Christmas eve fans are getting a free entry for the inaugural match of the tournament at Basin Reserve. The match begins at 2.30 AM IST.

Wellington Blaze squad for the first match: Maddy Green (c), Rebecca Burns, Natasha Codyre, Xara Jetly, Amelia Kerr, Jess Kerr, Caitlin King, Jessica McFadyen, Beth Molony, Thamsyn Newton, Georgia Plimmer, Maneka Singh