A remarkable final fortnight of the regular season from White Ferns skipper Sophie Devine ensured her Perth Scorchers snuck into the Women’s Big Bash League semifinals despite a late stumble on Sunday.
Devine and White Ferns team-mates Amelia Kerr and Maddy Green, both from Brisbane Heat, will be the New Zealand reps in the playoffs after the top-four were found, with Melbourne Stars and Sydney Thunder the other sides.
The top-placed Stars will meet the Scorchers, with the second-ranked Heat facing the Thunder to decide next Saturday’s finalists.
Devine cracked 57 off 42 balls at North Sydney Oval on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough for the Scorchers who lost to Adelaide Strikers by three runs chasing 160 to win. Devine’s White Ferns team-mate Suzie Bates was part of the Strikers set-up before suffering a tournament-ending shoulder injury.
Despite the defeat, the Scorchers snuck into the semis in fourth spot, with Devine’s form a crucial factor.
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Her last six innings of the regular season were worth 103, 4, 77 not out, 45, 87 not out and 57, as she also missed two games with a lower back injury. Across 11 innings, Devine was third-highest tournament runscorer with 448 at an average of 56 and strike rate of 130.
Legspinner Kerr snared 2-24 off four overs as the Heat had a comfortable final round win over Melbourne Renegades, by 43 runs via the Duckworth-Lewis method.
White Ferns Lea Tahuhu (2-16) and Amy Satterthwaite (14 off 13) played their final match of the tournament with their Renegades side finishing a disappointing seventh.
Kerr, whose side are chasing a three-peat of titles, had another quality regular season. In 13 matches she took 16 wickets (equal fifth overall) at an average of 15.56 and economy rate of 5.37.
Green didn’t play Sunday’s match and ended the regular season with 129 runs at 12.9, and strike rate of 89.
After their Big Bash commitments, Devine, Kerr and Green will return home for two weeks of managed isolation, with their first scheduled commitment the Super Smash T20 opener between their defending champion Wellington Blaze and Auckland Hearts at the Basin Reserve on December 24.