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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Sophie Devine who blasted 50 off 18 balls plays Hockey too ! [White Ferns & Black Sticks]

We followed India’s cricket fortunes at Bangladesh and now at Zimbabwe – many of us will follow the domestic circuit too….. Duleep Trophy is a domestic first-class cricket competition played  between teams representing geographical zones of India [ 5 : South; North; West; East and Central]. The competition is named after Kumar Shri Duleepsinhji of Nawanagar (also known as "Duleep"). East Zone are the current champions.Due to the packed schedule of domestic and international cricket, the more than half a century-old Duleep Trophy inter-zonal competition has been given a break for the first time since its inception by the Cricket Board for the upcoming season.

Did you follow the India NewZealand One day Series – the women Cricket.   White Ferns made a spectacular record start to their three-match Twenty20 International Series at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru, India, stand-in captain Sophie Devine powered the fastest Twenty20 International half-century in the history of women's cricket.

Sophie Devine deputising for regular captain Suzie Bates (out with a stomach bug), smashed  half-century off 18 balls en route to a career-best 22-ball 70, at a strike rate of 318.18. It was Devine's second T20 International half-century and broke West Indian Deandra Dottin's fastest T20 International 50 world record, which had stood at 22 balls, set in 2009.

Having got off the mark by smashing Jhulan Goswami for six over point, Devine's 89-run second-wicket stand with Amy Satterthwaite (who herself had got off to a flier, and finished on an unbeaten 39, off 35 balls) was completed in just 4.4 overs, before Devine was caught off left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad on the third ball of the sixth over by a stunned Sneh Rana — whose one-over had been brutalised by Devine to the tune of 32 runs. Having dismissed India for 125 with one ball to spare, the destructive hitting ensured the White Ferns to an emphatic eight-wicket victory with 45 balls to spare.  Devine blasted five boundaries and eight sixes.

Devine wears jersey no. 77  denoting the house address at  77 Woodman Drive, where she grew up.  For that interesting extra bit of info : the Kiwi women’s Cricket team, nicknamed ‘White Ferns, played their first Test match in 1935, when they lost to England. Since then they have only won two Tests, once against Australia, and once against South Africa.Their greatest success in one-day cricket was when they won the 2000 World Cup under captain Emily Drumm. In a hotly contested final, they scored 184 to narrowly beat Australia by four runs.  The name is  derived from the use of the fern as New Zealand's sporting emblem.

Sophie Frances Monique Devine (1989) has represented New Zealand in both cricket as the vice-captain of the New Zealand national women's cricket team (the White Ferns), and in field hockey as a member of the New Zealand women's national field hockey team (the Black Sticks Women).   Now she is focussing on Cricket.  She is known for not wearing a helmet when batting, a rarity in 21-century cricket [ recall Viv Richards and Sunil Gavaskar of those days !]

New Zealand women's national field hockey team,  is known as the Black Sticks – now something more  Sophie started playing cricket and hockey at the age of 4, but initially wanted to be an All Black!... she grew up playing in boys teams and reportedly was awarded the bowling 'wicket' for most wickets in the season, a previous winner was Black Cap Mark Gillespie. At young age, she was also a member of the Wellington squash academy.

At 15, she was diagnosed with diabetes – was admitted to hospital and discharged the following day, played a hockey tournament the following week – now a brand ambassador for Diabetes afflicted in New Zealand.  Disorders do not hamper some from achieving bigger things – and Sophie Devine is leaving her imprints in Cricket and Hockey too …

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
21st July 2015

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