Wellington Blaze and Otago Sparks are set to cross swords in the final of the Women's Super Smash 2021-22 on Saturday, January 29. Seddon Park in Hamilton will host the exciting contest.
The Blaze, captained by Maddy Green, has been unstoppable in the ongoing edition of the championship. Having won all 10 of their matches in the league stage, the Blaze finished on top of the points table with an incredible net run rate of +2.673.
They will go into the final on the back of a resounding 54-run victory over Northern Districts Women on Monday, January 24. After being put in to bat first, the Blaze racked up a decent score of 154 for nine. Thamsyn Newton top-scored for them with a 23-ball 38.
Georgia Plimmer and Leigh Kasperek also made useful scores in the 20s. But it was Jess Kerr's nine-ball 20 with two fours and a six that took the Blaze past the 150-run mark.
While defending the score, the Blaze bowled their opponents out for 100 in 19.2 overs. Kasperek, Sophie Devine and Amelia Kerr picked up two wickets apiece.
The Sparks, led by Suzie Bates, finished second in the points table in the league stage after garnering eight wins from 10 games with a net run rate of +0.595. It's pertinent to note that both their losses in the tournament came at the hands of Green's Blaze.
They will head into the final after defeating Auckland Women by 29 runs in the Eliminator on Thursday, January 27. After electing to bat first, the Sparks put up a score of 143 for five on the board. Skipper Bates led from the front with a handy 62-ball knock of 75.
Molly Penfold got two wickets for Auckland for 27 runs in four overs. Thereafter, the Sparks restricted Auckland to 114 for six in 20 overs. Sophie Oldershaw finished with bowling figures of 4-0-17-2. Hayley Jensen bowled at an economy rate of 2.75.
Will the Sparks (OS-W) beat the Blaze (WB-W)?
Having won both their games over the Sparks in the league stage, the Blaze will go into the final as slight favorites. The Sparks need to find a way to eliminate the threat of Amelia Kerr, who has scored 326 runs and picked up 16 wickets for the Blaze. The Sparks will also depend heavily on skipper Suzie Bates, the tournament's leading run-scorer.
Prediction: Wellington Blaze to win the match.
Poll : Will the Sparks beat the Blaze in the final?