When the sun rose at the Castle Avenue in Dublin on Wednesday, it shone the brightest on the 17-year-old visitor Amelia Kerr. In the last one week, New Zealand have pushed the envelope for women’s cricket like none other, with two eye-popping 400-plus totals on the bounce. They made it three in a row courtesy a record-shattering teenager who will remember the evening for a very long time to come.
Kerr went past the previous highest individual score in women’s ODI – held by Australia’s Belinda Clark – with an unbeaten 232 off just 145 balls to help New Zealand post 440 for 3, which happens to be only their second-best batting effort of the series. Once Kerr was done demonstrating that she was wise beyond her years with the bat, she let a few of her legbreaks rip to cooly pocket a five-wicket haul and end Ireland’s miserable week with their third successive defeat by 300-plus runs.
Ireland’s ill-luck with the toss came back to haunt them for the third time in as many games in the series as the visitors flew off the blocks through makeshift opener Kerr and Amy Satterthwaite. But the real frenzy began only after Ireland leggie Gaby Lewis – another 17-year-old – dismissed Satterthwaite, making room for Leigh Kasperek to arrive and join forces with Kerr for a partnership with 295 runs off just 199 balls.
In the context of how the stand panned out, Kasperek’s 105-ball 113 was a modest attempt at run-making as Kerr effortlessly accumulated boundaries by the dozen. In the 46th over – by medium-pacer Lara Maritz – Kasperek got to her century, while Kerr became the second ODI double-centurion in the history of the women’s game. By the time New Zealand’s innings came to a close, Kerr had 31 fours [and just two sixes] to her name in an epochal performance that saw the Irish bowlers enjoy another day to erase from memory as swiftly as possible. Barring captain Laura Delany, each of the other six bowlers conceded runs at more than eight-an-over.
Ireland’s rocky start with the bat widened the improbability of a successful run-chase. They crashed and burned through the first 10 overs, with opener Una Raymond-Hoey dragging them along with a fight. But that too was brought to a close by the midway stage, when Kerr cleaned her up to pick the first of her five wickets. Raymond-Hoey’s 68-ball 43 would go on to be Ireland’s best individual performance, as the line-up just fell apart following her dismissal with the team total on 90. Kerr hastened the process by first seeing the back of wicketkeeper-bat Shauna Kavanagh – whose 28 was the second-best score – and then wrapped up the tail to finish with 5 for 17 in just 7 overs. Ireland folded for 135, losing the game by a whopping 305 runs.
Brief Scores: New Zealand women 440/3 in 50 overs (Amelia Kerr 232*, Leigh Kasperek 105; Lara Maritz 1-84) beat Ireland Women 135 in 44 overs (Una Raymond-Hoey 43; Amelia Kerr 5-17) by 305 runs
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