A remarkable last fortnight of White Ferns skipper Sophie Devine’s regular season saw her Perth Scorchers sneak into the Women’s Big Bash League semifinals despite a late stumbling block on Sunday.
Devine and White Ferns teammates Amelia Kerr and Maddy Green, both from Brisbane Heat, will be the New Zealand representatives in the playoffs after the top four were found, with Melbourne Stars and Sydney Thunder on the other.
The top-seeded Stars will meet the Scorchers, with the second-seeded Heat facing the Thunder to decide next Saturday’s finalists.
Devine cracked 57 of 42 balls at North Sydney Oval on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough for the Scorchers who lost to Adelaide Strikers by three runs and chased 160 to win. Devine’s White Ferns teammate Suzie Bates was part of the Strikers lineup before sustaining a shoulder injury that ended the tournament.
Despite the defeat, the Scorchers slipped into the semifinals fourth, with Devine’s form a crucial factor.
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Her last six innings of the regular season were 103, 4, 77 not out, 45, 87 not out, and worth 57, as she also missed two games with a low back injury. In 11 innings, Devine was the third highest runscorer of the tournament with 448 at an average of 56 and a strike rate of 130.
Legspinner Kerr cut 2-24 from four overs when the Heat won a comfortable final round against Melbourne Renegades, with 43 runs via the Duckworth-Lewis method.
White Ferns Lea Tahuhu (2-16) and Amy Satterthwaite (14 out of 13) played their last game of the tournament and their Renegades squad finished in a disappointing seventh place.
Kerr, whose team is on the hunt for three titles, had another regular quality season. In 13 games she took 16 wickets (equal to fifth overall) with an average of 15.56 and an economic rate of 5.37.
Green didn’t play Sunday’s game and closed the regular season with 129 runs at 12.9 and a strike rate of 89.
Following their Big Bash commitments, Devine, Kerr and Green will return home for two weeks of managed isolation, with their first scheduled deployment, the Super Smash T20 opener between their defending champions Wellington Blaze and Auckland Hearts in the Basin Reserve on December 24.