NZ stars given green light to put WBBL ahead of country

Justin Chadwick |

Amelia Kerr’s 48 helped put Heat one match from the WBBL final, and she’ll play if they make it.
Amelia Kerr’s 48 helped put Heat one match from the WBBL final, and she’ll play if they make it.

New Zealand captain Sophie Devine and fellow Kiwi Amelia Kerr have been given permission to play in Saturday’s WBBL grand final if they qualify – even though it means missing a match for their country.

The Brisbane Heat crushed the Sydney Thunder by 44 runs on Tuesday to set up a preliminary final against the Perth Scorchers at the WACA Ground on Wednesday.

Amelia was named player of the match in Tuesday’s elimination final after scoring 48 off 32 balls in the Heat’s total of 8-169.

Kerr then snared the key wicket of Phoebe Litchfield caught and bowled as the Thunder were restricted to 9-125.

The winner of Wednesday’s preliminary final will face the ladder-leading Adelaide Strikers in the grand final at Adelaide Oval on Saturday.

England stars Amy Jones and Nat Sciver-Brunt, who both play for the Scorchers, won’t be able to feature in the title decider because they are required to join up with the national squad for the upcoming tour of India.

But NZ cricket are taking a different approach, allowing their players to complete their WBBL duties before linking up with the national squad.

It means either Kerr or Scorchers star Devine will miss NZ’s T20 clash with Pakistan on Sunday in order to compete in the WBBL final.

“I guess it’s going to be one of Sophie or I missing the game for New Zealand, which seems a bit weird – missing a game for your country,” Kerr said.

“But New Zealand cricket have allowed us to play in the final. So one of us will be in the final and one of us will be playing cricket in Dunedin.”

Sophie Devine
New Zealand skipper Sophie Devine will miss an international if the Scorchers reach the WBBL final. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)

The Heat and Scorchers have split their two games this season.

Heat opener Grace Harris cracked an unbeaten 136 off 59 balls in a remarkable knock to guide her side to a 50-run win in October.

The Scorchers got their revenge earlier this month when Devine smashed 106 off 62 balls in a 39-run victory for Perth.

“There’s been two match-winning hundreds that’s happened in the last couple of games against the Scorchers,” Kerr said.

“I think what they have is obviously Sophie, Beth (Mooney), and Nat – three quality players and three of the best in the world.

“They’re huge for them.

“But we bat very deep, that’s a real strength of ours.

“So hopefully we can get a big total, or whatever they get hopefully we’ll be able to chase that.”