Cricket: Wellington Blaze claim women's Super Smash title in last-ball thriller against Central Hinds

Wellington Blaze have snatched a one-run victory over Central Hinds to claim the women's Super Smash title at Auckland's Eden Park.  

Defending only 90, after being bowled out for 89 runs batting first, the Blaze restricted the Hinds to just 88/5 in reply, and won the women's title for the fifth time in seven years.  

The victory came on the back of a nervy final over bowled by former captain Sophie Devine (1/18), who defended nine runs - despite a dropped catch and missed runout opportunity.  

Captain Amelia Kerr led the way for the Blaze with 35 runs and a miserly 0/14 spell off our overs with the ball.  

Former Blaze-turned-Hinds batter Thamsyn Newton couldn't have the final say for her new side and was left unbeaten on 27 from 42 balls, as Wellington celebrated their triumph.  

The loss leaves the Hinds waiting to end an eight-year wait for a title, with their last competition win coming in the 2015/16 season.

Amelia Kerr was Wellington's top-scorer with the bat.
Amelia Kerr was Wellington's top-scorer with the bat. Photo credit: Photosport

After Wellington won the toss and chose to bat, their innings was hit by regular strikes from the Hinds.  

In a rain-reduced 17-over innings, the Blaze posted just 89, with their final wicket falling with the last ball.  

Only Amelia Kerr (35) passed 20 for Wellington, while Central seamer Rosemary Mair was her side's standout, with figures of 4/5 from her four-over spell.  

In just the third over, the Blaze were hit by the loss of White Ferns captain Devine for five, losing her middle stump as Mair's first wicket.  

An over later, Rebecca Burns became the second batter to depart, when she was caught by Hollie Armitage, before rain interrupted the Hinds charge. Once play resumed, the Blaze's innings suffered loss after loss, as no batter was able to support Kerr.  

Ducks for Georgia Plimmer, out leg before wicket to Mair, and Leigh Kasperek - bowled by Claudia Green - reduced Wellington to 24/4, before Kate Chandler limped to eight from 21 balls. 

Jess Kerr added 12 from 10 balls, as part of an innings-high partnership of 24 off 21 balls with her younger sister.  

At 84/7 with an over left, the pair of Kerr and Natasha Codyre (12) had one last chance to lift the Blaze closer to a defendable total, but both fell to Mair within three balls.  

When Nicole Baird was run out on the final ball of the innings, the Blaze had just 90 to defend in the hopes of the title, but the Hinds were suffocated by the three-pronged spin attack.  

In 11 overs, Amelia Kerr (0/14), Kasperek (1/21) and Xara Jetly (0/12) conceded just 47 runs in 66 balls, and left the Hinds with too much to do against Jess Kerr and Devine.  

English import Armitage got the Hinds chase off to a bright start with 21 from 17 balls, but fell caught-and-bowled to Devine to give the Blaze hopes of stealing victory.  

Newton and captain Natalie Dodd (18 off 29) added 29 runs in 50 balls together, and left themselves too great of a mountain to climb at the death. 

As Kasperek dismissed Dodd caught-and-bowled at the end of the 12th over, Hannah Rowe looked to re-ignite the chase with 12 from only 10 balls.  

Needing 18 off 12 balls, Jess Kerr's (1/21) return saw the back of her White Ferns teammate and left the Hinds needing 10 from the final over.  

After missing most of the season on a rest break, Devine showed signs of rust by dropping Newton, but showed her composure in running out Mikaela Greig (six) off the arm of Plimmer.  

Needing three off the final ball, Newton couldn't connect with a wide delivery from Devine, as Jess McFayden broke the stumps to run out Green and stop the Hinds' chances of running two to force a Super Over.   

Auckland Aces host Canterbury Kings later on Sunday in the men's final.

Wellington Blaze 89 all out (A Kerr 35; Mair 4/5)  Central Hinds 88/5 (Newton 27no; Devine 1/18)

Wellington win by one run