The fireworks have gone off a day late at the Basin Reserve — Wellington Blaze captain Sophie Devine getting 2016 off to a showstopping start with a spectacular and matchwinning maiden T20 century.
Devine helped her defending titleholders crush the Auckland Hearts by eight wickets for their first win of the 2015/16 Women’s Twenty20 Competition, her record-shattering first T20 century the standout individual performance in round three action this afternoon.
Devine's century is the fastest in New Zealand domestic T20 history (beating former BLACKCAP and Central Stag Jamie How's maiden 45-ball effort by one ball), and was the first to have been scored at the Basin Reserve, where one of her sixes hit the Monument.
Only the third domestic women's T20 century in New Zealand, it featured the most sixes in a T20 innings in New Zealand as well as having been New Zealand's fastest women's domestic T20 half century (the 50 flying off 26 balls, breaking a record she had shared with Sara McGlashan at 27 balls).
The aggressive allrounder showed her intent early as the Blaze went after the Hearts’ 177/5 — a challenging total that had been led by WHITE FERNS teammates McGlashan (89 off 57) and Katie Perkins (45 off 33) after Devine put them in.
Batting at first drop, in response Devine thundered her first 50 off just 26 balls (three boundaries, five sixes).
Her maiden hundred arrived only 20 minutes later — off 44 deliveries, with four additional boundaries and four more sixes added to help the Blaze overcome the target with an over to spare for their first win of the T20 domestic campaign.
Opener Rachel Priest had helped lay a good foundation with 33 runs as Devine got going, then Liz Perry took over the supporting role as the Blaze ticked off the runs at pace.
Earlier, despite the early wickets of openers Anna Peterson and captain Vic Lind (in her 150th game for the Hearts), the Hearts had recovered to post 177. McGlashan crunched to 89 off just 57 balls, a knock including 13 boundaries. Perkins scored her 45 off 33, while Deanna Doughty was the most successful of the Blaze bowlers with 3-22.
Teams now play the same opponents at the same venues (with the exception of the Magicians, whose home fixtures move to Rangiora's Mainpower Oval) tomorrow and Monday in rounds five and six of the national 2015/16 Women’s One-Day Competition, livescored at www.blackcaps.co.nz