Sunday, February 14, 2021

Hat tricks I have seen No 9

Amelia Kerr for Wellington v Canterbury, T20 Final, Basin Reserve, 13 February 2021

After a twenty-year wait between hattricks Nos 7 and 8, No 9 came along a mere 13 months later. It was distinctive among my collection of hattricks in several ways. It was the first by a woman cricketer, the first by a leg spinner, the first in a final and the first to be all bowled (indeed, the first where all three victims fell in the same manner).

Melie Kerr’s cricketing pedigree is as distinguished as any in New Zealand, including the Hadlees and the Bracewells. Her sister Jess was alongside her in the Wellington team here, as she will be in the national team in the forthcoming series against Australia. Both her parents, Robbie and Jo, were Wellington representatives. Robbie played as a batsman and sometime keeper 59 times in the 90s, mostly in one-day cricket.

Her grandfather Bruce Murray (often known as “Bag” because of his initials—BAG Murray) played 13 tests as an opener from 1969 to 1972. He played in the first test I ever watched, at the Oval in 1969, though I don’t think that I saw him bat on that day.

The family trade is teaching. Bruce Murray was a high-school principal for 20 years. Jess has just started as an intermediate school teacher (11–13 year olds) and Melie, according to Wikipedia, works as a teacher aide, supporting autistic children.

Watching Melie Kerr bowl leg spin has become one of the delights of the Wellington summer. She has great accuracy and turns it both ways. She also holds the record for the highest individual score in women’s ODI cricket (232 against Ireland). She is 20.

The game was the T20 final between Wellington and Canterbury. At 40 for two in the tenth over chasing 125, Canterbury needed to increase their scoring rate urgently.

The dangerous Amy Satterthwaite was already out, but captain Frankie Mackay was still there. She tried to sweep the third ball of Kerr’s second over. It was a googly, but she was beaten through the air rather than off the pitch and was bowled off stump.

The next delivery was another wrong’un, which Kirsty Nation failed to read, going back with room to play a desperate prod at the ball as it followed her. Top of off, again.

Emma Kench played a similar shot to the hattrick delivery, which went on quicker rather than turning. Kerr was, for a couple of seconds, the only person in the ground who did not know that the ball had again found its way to the top of the off stump, and was undertaking an operatic appeal for leg before when a swarm of teammates put her right.

There was nobody in the ground who thought that this was anything other than a match-winning piece of bowling, except the non-striking batter Kate Ebrahim, and No 8 Leah Tahuhu. Their thrilling partnership of 66 in six overs deprived Wellington of a fourth successive T20 trophy. More of that soon.

 

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