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Wellington Blaze and Firebirds do the double

Devine blasts Blaze to Super Smash three-peat
Blaze v HEARTS scorecard

Sophie Devine's rapid half-century led the Wellington Blaze to their third consecutive Super Smash title in a weather-reduced match at the Basin Reserve.

The newly appointed WHITE FERNS captain hit five sixes and brought her fifty up in just 22 balls as the Blaze posted an imposing 81-2 in their seven overs. The 4th over went for 21 runs and 18 came from the 6th over as Devine found the boundary at will.

Needing almost 12 runs an over to win, the Auckland HEARTS didn’t get going in reply, finishing on 45-5 to give the Blaze a 36-run win.

Persistent drizzle in Wellington delayed the start of the match for more than two hours, reducing the season decider to a seven-over contest.

Sent into bat, openers Devine and Rachel Priest got things moving with five boundaries in the first two overs, three to Priest and two to Devine.

Priest departed for 14 at the end of the third over and from there it was all Devine.

She blasted three sixes in a 20-run haul in the fourth over. Four more boundaries came in the following two overs, including a six to bring up a 22-ball fifty.

Her destructive knock was over a ball later, caught by Anna Peterson at mid-off to give Bella Armstrong (2-23 off two) her second wicket.

The Blaze won all 11 matches this season and have now been crowned Super Smash champions for three successive seasons.

The HEARTS’ chase was an uphill battle from the outset, needing 82 runs off 42 balls.

Boundaries were hard to come by for the visitors and they lost wickets regularly as the target became quickly out of reach.

Leigh Kasperek (2-4), Jess Kerr (1-7) and Deanna Doughty (1-16) took wickets, while a Melie Kerr direct hit had Katie Perkins run out.

Armstrong (13 off 8) top-scored for the HEARTS.

Firebirds complete dream day for Wellington cricket
Firebirds v ACES scorecard

Wellington has done the Dream11 Super Smash double, with the Firebirds winning the men’s competition and joining the Blaze who secured their third consecutive women’s title earlier in the day. 

Sent in, the Firebirds put a competitive total on the board then produced an excellent bowling and fielding display to win by 22 runs at the Basin Reserve.

Michael Bracewell and Logan van Beek scored 20 runs in the final over to boost the Firebirds to 168-7, a late burst that proved crucial.

Devon Conway was the standout batsman again for the Firebirds, as he has been all season. He scored 49 off 37 balls before he was dismissed by Mitchell McClenaghan (3-32 off four) with the help of a spectacular one-handed catch by Craig Cachopa.

Conway had good support from Tom Blundell (25 off 21) who fell soon after.

Jimmy Neesham kept the momentum going until he was caught for 22 off 13 balls off the bowling of Ronnie Hira (1-32 off four).

With five overs remaining, the Firebirds were stalled at 124-5, but their fast finish boosted the total to a defendable 168-7.

Captain Michael Bracewell made an unbeaten 23 off 17 and van Beek added 15 off eight in the late flurry.

In response, The ACES started brightly. Martin Guptill took 11 from the first over and the visitors were well placed at 33-0 after four.

However, Munro fell in the next over bowled by Hamish Bennett (3-34 off four). Glenn Phillips and Mark Chapman both came and went and the ACES found themselves at 61-3 in the 10th over and under increasing scoreboard pressure.

Skipper Cachopa (25 off 19) tried to get some impetus for the visitors but regular boundaries were hard to come by and the big overs didn’t eventuate. 

van Beek (3-28 off four) added three middle-order wickets to his cameo with the bat to turn the match in the Firebirds’ favour.

The hosts bowled well as a unit throughout and shone in the field to close out the win. First, Tom Blundell dove full-stretched to his right to have Hira caught behind and then van Beek produced two twinkle-toed efforts on the mid-wicket boundary to dismiss Guptill (60 off 53) and Ben Horne.

The equation was quickly out of reach and the home crowd lapped up the final two overs when victory was assured, completing a memorable day in the capital.