Turn and burn: Blaze wins nailbiting Grand Final

Asked to bowl first, runner-up the Central Hinds had bowled brilliantly in the first innings, restricting the potent Blaze to just 89 in a game reduced to 19, and then to 17, overs per side by wet weather stoppages.

Pace star Rosemary Mair had a blinder.

She not only took her best T20 figures (5/4) for the Hinds, but returned the second most economical figures in the history of the women's league with a world class 4-1-5-4.

The included the pivotal wickets of WHITE FERNS Sophie Devine (bowled by Mair's second delivery), Georgia Plimmer (trapped for no score), Melie Kerr (caught behind off Mair's final over, the last of the innings), and then Tash Codyre bowled at the death.

The Hinds, in their best T20 season in years under new Head Coach Jacob Oram, had their moments.

Ashtuti Kumar took a brilliant sliding catch to give Claudia Green (2/12) the wicket of Kate Chandler, and Scotland international Priyanaz Chatterji was tight once again at her happy hunting ground of Eden Park.

But the Hinds soon found the going tough themselves with the bat, as the Blaze showed all their big-match experience - this was Wellington's eighth Dream11 Super Smash title, while the Hinds had not won the comp in 13 years - to shut down the Hinds' scoring opportunities.

Powerful England A rep Hollie Armitage (21 off 17) and the technically precise Natalie Dodd (18 off 29) were key wickets, after a 23-run opening stand.

The Blaze trio of super spinners came on for 11 overs through the middle after Devine had accounted for Armitage and clamped down, Xara Jetly (0/12 off three overs) and captain Melie Kerr (0/14 off four) each conceding just a single off their first overs.

Leigh Kasperek (1/12) had an influence too, picking up the wicket of Dodd with a return catch.

Captain Kerr had been both the top run-scorer and top wicket-taker in the regular season, and had also played an important hand with the bat in the trophy decider with her run-a-ball 35 the Blaze's top score.

The Hinds couldn't match it, and found themselves just behind the eight ball - and the DLS - throughout the chase, albeit heading for a last-over finish.

The two sides had tied their previous encounter, and the cricket gods threatened to go there again with a few last-over extras in the mix.

The Hinds were left needing six off the last three deliveries, then four runs off the last two balls in another nailbiter. But after their heroics in Hamilton, it just didn't seem to be their day with the bat.

Plimmer struck a vital blow as she fired in the throw to Devine to run out powerful striker Mikaela Greig off the penultimate delivery, as Greig raced for a second run.

That brought Claudia Green to the middle, with Thamsyn Newton left to swing at the last delivery against her former side who had the wood on her on this occasion.

There was only ever going to be one more run as Green turned, ran in sheer hope, and watched the bails knocked off in front of her - the Blaze inking themselves in as champions on the final act of the innings.

The Blaze had been the top qualifier, and returned to the podium for the first time in two years after having been the beaten finalists last summer.

The Hinds farewell overseas pro Armitage as they return to continue their one-day Hallyburton Johnstone Shield season, with a rematch with Wellington coming up soon at the Basin.

The Blaze lead the national one-day table by three points with four games in the regular season to go, and will now be eyeing up the double.








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