Hat-trick as Hinds blast into the Grand Final

A century stand between Hollie Armitage and Thamsyn Newton and the first ever Hinds T20 hat-trick, from Claudia Green, added up to a night to remember as Central breezed through the 2023/24 Elimination Final.

The Hinds defeated hosts Northern Brave by 45 runs, ending the Brave's epic run through the back end of the competition, and inking in their first win at this level since the sudden death playoffs were introduced for women several years ago.

The Hinds now have a shot at a trophy they have won only once before, some 13 years ago before the current group of players. They'll be up against Wellington Blaze at Eden Park on Sunday for the title fight, from 12.30PM NZT.

The Eliminator didn't get off to an ideal start for the Hinds after returning captain Natalie Dodd elected to bat - but became an early casualty, departing at 0/1 to an impressive juggled catch from Chamari Athapaththu after Brave spinner Nensi Patel opened with a brilliant wicket maiden.


But that was about the last thing that went right for the Brave.

Thamsyn Newton strode in to join opener Hollie Armitage and the pair took care of the next 13 overs, pouring on a century stand (107, the highest of the summer) that ended just a couple of runs shy of breaking the Hinds' record for the second wicket.

England A rep Armitage showed her class and power, producing her best knock in the green and maiden fifty for the side with 10 boundaries in her 78 off just 50 balls.

Marina Lamplough (2/22) finally had her caught and bowled, albeit a stinger at the start of the 16th over on the warm, sunny evening in Hamilton, and Lamplough had also broken the stand a couple of overs earlier with Newton's support stopped on 34.

But the damage was done, and the Hinds were headed for a good total.

The experience of Georgia Atkinson, Mikaela Greig and Hannah Rowe helped push the total out to 151/5, their team's highest tally of the summer, and an asking rate of 7.55 for the Brave. Talk about hitting peak form at the right moment.

But if the Hinds were good with the bat, they were sensational with the ball.

Rowe kicked things off by dismissing her dangerous former teammate Jess Watkin for a three-ball duck in the opening over: the Brave was 0/1, just as the Hinds had been.

Caitlin Gurrey joined the star Athapaththu who found the boundary a couple of times before the most memorable three balls of the game.

Already this season, the Hinds had banked a hat-trick courtesy of Rosemary Mair in their one-day Hallyburton Johnstone Shield campaign in Auckland.

Now Claudia Green muscled in to write another line of history in the Almanack, starting with the huge wicket of Athapaththu who was left kicking herself as Greig took a sharp catch at extra cover, with the sun in her eyes.

The scoreboard read 19/2 and that quickly became 19/3 as Atkinson caught Patel for no score, Green's bouncer doing the trick as she ruffled through her repertoire.

Now Green was on a hat-trick as she bowled to Lamplough who heard the slower ball thud into her pad, and the appeal rise up over the stadium.

The umpire's finger went up, and the Hinds erupted in celebration after a spectacular power play.

Watching all this unfold was Gurrey who now had a massive job to do. Gurrey has caned the Hinds in the past: when she hit Northern's record highest one-day century, it was against the Hinds in Mount Maunganui. She was a big wicket, and they knew it: this game was not over yet.

Green's hat-trick will probably be destined to overshadow some very tidy work from her teammates, with Priyanaz Chatterji's ninth over another pivotal one for the Hinds.

She trapped Brave captain Eimear Richardson with her third delivery, then had Eve Wolland caught two balls later by Rowe at 50/5.

Still the fighting Gurrey remained, but now she was starting to run out of partners.

Carol Agafili exited during Chatterji's next over, then swift work from Rowe and bowler Ashtuti Kumar ran out Holly Topp at 74/8. Chatterji finished with 3/17.

The Hinds could sniff victory now as the required rate kept climbing on the Brave, despite some lusty blows from Gurrey.

She reached 52 off just 43 balls to give her team a last hope, but when Green had her caught and bowled for a career-best fourth T20 wicket in the innings, the Brave had lost their chance.

Down to their last wicket now, Brave was soon all out for 106, with three overs left untouched.

It had been their first appearance in any level of Dream11 Super Smash Final, and the host association had put on a spectacle and great weather for the crowd.

But it was not be for the Brave women this time. The Hinds were off to Eden Park, the big dance as they say, with Wellington Blaze on Sunday.


All images: PHOTOSPORT