Dream ending | PHOTOSPORT

Fairytale finish for Magicians legend

Amy Satterthwaite celebrated her sixth and final Dream11 Super Smash title after the Canterbury Magicians doused the Wellington Blaze in a big battle for the 2023 trophy.

The big day arrived not only for the Magicians and Blaze, but for Satterthwaite herself who headed into this swansong T20 of her legendary career at her home ground, Hagley Oval, with a record 105th Magicians T20 cap to boot.

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Everyone barely dared to think it: would it be the fairytale finish for the standout lefthander and her squad, against the form team of the last two years?

Captain Satterthwaite got her day off to a positive start by winning the toss, asking Leigh Kasperek's defending champions to bowl first, in firm conditions with the weather obliging for a big day's cricket.

The blaster of the summer at the top, Kate Anderson dominated the early scoring, slaying two boundaries off the opening over and quickly getting the Magicians set with her superb blend of power, timing and placement.

She and Abigale Gerken piled 46 on the board in the top five overs, the Blaze already desperate for a breakthrough.

A few chances had been given, granted, but they were inevitably a fingertip away as the Magicians looked to hit the ball hard and get that strong start.

Kasperek brought herself on for the seventh with the Mags 69 for no loss, and Anderson just one blow away from yet another half ton.

After the shellshock of a duck in the Elimination Final, it was business as usual for the season's most prolific run-scorer in either the men's or women's leagues. She duly collected her half century off just 30 balls.

But the very next ball, the Blaze had their breakthrough.

Charli Knott put in a full-stretch dive to catch Gerken off Kasperek on 21: 71/1.

It was start of a fightback from the Blaze attack who picked up a wicket in five consecutive overs.

Satterthwaite strode to the middle to bat for the last time, seemingly as calm as ever. Yet it was far from the fairytale as she was trapped for a second-ball duck by that woman in the thick of the action, the import Knott.

Nat Cox looped up a catch to Laura Harris at midoff at 78/3: another tight and successful over, mercurial Nicole Baird the wicket-taker.

Just four balls later, non-striker Fran Wilson ran herself out for no score off the arm of Rebecca Burns, after a suicidal, muddled run against a misfield.

Then Xara Jetly came back into the attack and promptly dismissed Izzy Sharp.

The innings had sunk in the middle, like dough that wasn't rising.

Through all this chaos, the powerhouse Anderson remained but the scoreboard had ticked from 74/0 to 83/5 in a nerve-wracking few overs.

She crunched her 500th run of the season, a feat in itself and, by the 15 over mark, the Magicians were travelling in the right direction again, albeit a bit more cautiously at 108/5.

Four steadying overs passed before Laura Hughes was caught on 11 off Maneka Singh, Missy Banks joining Anderson on 76*.

Kasperek's 19th over was expensive, Anderson blasting her way into the 90s with a six, them helping herself to a boundary next ball.

Standing on the doorstep of a maiden century in a Grand Final, she turned over the strike - but calamity would strike again. Turning for an ambitious second run, even a full-stretch dive couldn't save her from a direct hit by Harris.

Anderson had to walk back to the pavilion after a superb, career-best, but heartbreaking 95 off 62 balls.

The Magicians stuttered through the last over, two batters lost off two balls, finishing at 144/9. A good total for sure in a Final, but it was hard to escape the feeling that valuable runs had been left out there.

To defend the title, the Blaze now computed their equation: 145 runs at 7.25.

Who else but Satterthwaite opened the Mags' attack, the elegant spinner keeping Rebecca Burns scoreless for the first three deliveries before the dangerous attacker got going, finding the boundary off the fifth ball.

Burns peeled another couple of fours off Gabby Sullivan before the Magicians had their breakthrough in the third, Burns trapped by Banks after a quick 18.

The experienced pair of Jess McFadyen and Thamsyn Newton built a restorative 44-run stand for the second wicket before good pressure in the field took toll, Newton (24) on her way caught at 64/2 in the eighth.

Knott joined McFadyen looking to carry on setting a launching pad. But Banks and young Abigail Hotton countered with excellent pressure, a couple of tight overs.

The Blaze batters were made to go hunting, but found 11 runs off the 11th. They had peeled another six runs off the next when Banks dealt a telling blow.

It was a second big strike for Banks, removing the power hitters as Knott departed for just 10.

Then the Magicians started to take the upper hand. Satterthwaite was elated to collect a big, skied catch from Harris, another key wicket gone for a cost of just 2 runs in the Final.

McFadyen was another massive loss as she was run out: three wickets gone in three overs, and the bread was failing to rise again.

Needing 49 off 26, the required rate was steepling when Blaze made another unforced error, captain Kasperek run out cheaply after a suicidal scamper with a fielder lurking at point.

Caitlin King and young Kate Chandler stood up under pressure, peeling eight off the 17th, and 14 off the 18th to keep their team's hopes alive. Now Blaze needed 26 from last 12 balls, with four wickets in hand.

Fighter Sullivan (3-29), who had been punished early on, took the ball. King was stumped off a wide: 124/7, 22 needed off 10.

Two balls later, Sullivan did it again with a class caught and bowled to end Chandler's career-best effort on 15 and take Blaze to eight down with eight balls left in the title bout.

Nicole Baird immediately spooned up a big chance of a third wicket in the over, but a sprawling Satterthwaite could not hang on.

Eighteen were needed from the last six balls of the women's season as Satterthwaite took the ball for one last fling. She conceded just three from the first three balls. Jetly knew she needed a boundary now off the fourth, went for it - and was stumped.

The Blaze needed unlikely luck now, and it was not forthcoming. Satterthwaite's final act in the game was to make a runout off the last ball.

It was the dream finish, after all.