The Dream11 Super Smash presented by KFC will start with a bang this summer as Hagley Oval plays host to both a men’s and women’s Grand Final rematch on Friday, 26 November.
The 17th edition of Dream11 Super Smash will see all 64 matches broadcast live on Spark Sport, with 40 matches broadcast free-to-air by TVNZ 1 and Duke.
Defending women’s champions, the Canterbury Magicians, are the first team in action - hosting an afternoon clash with Wellington Blaze, who had previously held the title with an iron-grip for three consecutive seasons.
Following the women, defending men’s title-holders the Wellington Firebirds take on last season’s Grand Finalists the Canterbury Kings, under lights at Hagley Oval.
Experienced Magician, Lea Tahuhu, was at the non-striker's end when the winning runs were struck last season and said the team was eager to defend its title.
“Last season’s final was an epic,” Tahuhu said.
“As a cricketer you always dream of playing in those last over run chases. We were stoked to lift the Dream11 Super Smash trophy last summer and what better way to start our defence than a Grand Final rematch against the Blaze,” she said.
This edition of the Dream11 Super Smash has a weekend focus, with matches predominantly played on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and across the Christmas holiday window at key summer locations.
NZC chief executive David White said he was delighted to be in a position to announce the schedule for the 2021-22 summer, given the difficulties of the current Covid-19 environment.
“It’s taken a little longer to confirm the arrangements but it’s certainly been worth the wait – with more men’s and women’s domestic matches to be screened live on Spark Sport and TVNZ than ever before,” he said.
“This competition continues to go from strength to strength and I’m confident this season’s version will continue the trend and draw record viewership numbers.”
Nine weeks of big-hitting, fearless and fast paced action will sort out the six men’s and six women’s teams as they battle for a spot in the Finals, with the sudden death Elimination (2v3) Finals set for Thursday, 27 January, and the 2022 Dream11 Super Smash Grand Final inked in for Saturday, 29 January.
Head of Spark Sport, Jeff Latch, said he was looking forward to another exciting summer of cricket in Aotearoa.
“As the home of NZC content, Spark Sport is bringing Kiwis live coverage of all 64 matches of the Super Smash season this summer, as well as an exciting international line-up to be announced in the coming weeks.
“What better way for Kiwis to get their summer fix of cricket than to join our team of commentators including Craig McMillan, Scotty Stevenson, Mark Richardson, Frankie McKay, Katey Martin and Rebecca Rolls on Spark Sport.
“We’re very excited to have our Spark Sport commentators calling most matches from our brand-new boundary side commentary pods getting them closer to the action and improving the viewing experience like never before,” Latch said.
TVNZ’s Director of Content, Cate Slater, echoed Latch’s comments.
“We’re excited to gear up for another season of Dream11 Super Smash on TVNZ, in partnership with NZC and Spark Sport,” she said.
“Cricket is one of Aotearoa’s favourite summer pastimes, and so it’s no surprise that the 2020-21 season was a huge success with free-to-air audiences. We’re looking forward to building on the coverage we delivered to viewers last year, as we support the growth of this fantastic local competition around the country.”
NZC’s Super Smash League Manager, Nicky Britten, said while there’s potential for the schedule to change given the current Covid-19 environment, she was proud to see the Dream11 Super Smash set and ready for another season.
“We plan to bring all the action to fans wherever they might be; whatever they might be doing, and on whatever the device they might have access to,” she said.
“In partnership with our broadcast providers, we’ve seen viewership of the Super Smash league rise significantly and we fully expect that trend to continue this summer.
“We look forward to top domestic cricket returning to several iconic regional hubs, and the provision of selected free-to-air matches reaching bigger and wider audiences.”
This season will see Dream11 Super Smash action hit a variety of venues with matches scheduled in Whangārei, Palmerston North and Queenstown.
The Central Stags and Hinds will host Dream11 Super Smash games together in Palmerston North for the first time since January 2018 (women) and February 2009 (men) - the latter being the only previous occasion in which the Stags have played the shortest format at their Manawatū home ground.
“We’re excited already,” said Central Hinds’ Jess Watkin,
“Manawatū has been one of our regular homes in the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield and we’re very familiar with Fitzherbert Park, but to be able to play Dream11 Super Smash - with all the excitement and atmosphere of a televised game, and in front of my home crowd, is just brilliant.”
The Otago Sparks will play at Queenstown’s John Davies Oval for the first time in history while the Otago Volts will be playing their first domestic T20 at the scenic Southern Lakes venue since December 2012.
The Northern Brave will be at home at Whangārei’s Cobham Oval for the first time since November 2015 (men) and December 2016 (women).
“It’s a real pleasure to see the Dream11 Super Smash returning to fans in Whangarei, Palmerston North and Queenstown for the first time in a number of seasons,” said Britten.
“I’d especially like to acknowledge the Whangārei District Council, Palmerston North City Council and Queenstown Lakes District Council, for supporting their Major Associations to host broadcast Dream11 Super Smash matches this season.”
Dream11 Super Smash tickets are on-sale now, visit www.supersmash.co.nz for details.
NB: Schedule may change in response to Covid-19 restrictions