It was arguably the greatest 50-over performance in cricket, ever, across genders. Not only did 17-year-old Amelia Kerr smash the highest score in women’s one-day international history against Ireland on Wednesday, she also returned a five-for with her leg-spin as New Zealand pulled off their third straight win by over 300 runs in the series.
It was back in December 1997, in Mumbai, during the ICC Women’s World Cup that Belinda Clark, the champion Australian batter, scored 229* against Denmark. Just over two decades on, Kerr hit 232* to get to the top of the list. It was only the second double-century in women’s ODIs, and a special one too, studded with 31 fours and two sixes over 145 balls.
Highest scores in women's ODIs
|232*||Amelia Kerr||New Zealand v Ireland - Dublin, June 2018|
|229*||Belinda Clark||Australia v Denmark - Mumbai, December 1997|
|188||Deepti Sharma||India v Ireland - Potchefstroom, May 2017|
|178*||Chamari Athapaththu||Sri Lanka v Australia - Bristol, June 2017|
|173*||Charlotte Edwards||England v Ireland - Pune, December 1997|
Her partnership with Leigh Kasperek (113) was worth 295 runs, another highlight of the match as Ireland went down by 305 runs.
Kerr was asked afterwards if the performance had sunk in. “No, it’s pretty surreal. It was just nice to get the opportunity to open and get some time out in the middle,” she said. “I had to work hard at the start but once I got through (that period) then I got going and then had that good partnership with Leigh, which allowed me to play the way I wanted to play and hit boundaries, because we weren’t losing wickets.”
Kerr brought up her century off 77 balls, and then sped up, getting the rest of her runs in just 68 balls.
“I didn’t change much. I just wanted to keep batting, put the bad balls away. I was scoring off most balls then. I knew the Powerplay was coming, so I thought once we get to the Powerplay I’ll try and go hard then,” she said about her approach.
And no, she had no inkling of what she was in the process of achieving when she was out there.
“No, I had no idea. I thought I heard them say stuff on the speaker but I didn’t hear them because everyone was clapping. I had no idea,” she said, adding, “I hadn’t heard of her (Clark), but I’d heard now from the girls … women.”
Interestingly, this was Kerr’s first century in international cricket in her 20th ODI appearance – she has also played nine Twenty20 Internationals – and her best in representative cricket prior to it was 152, scored against Otago Under-21.
"Pretty special ... My mind was clear - see ball hit ball ... I had no idea of the record ... I'll watch some quality TV tonight - Love Island!"— WHITE FERNS (@WHITE_FERNS) June 14, 2018
🎥 Amelia Kerr full of insights and banter post her World-Record 232* 👌#IREvNZ #NorthernTour pic.twitter.com/0A1Opr0cwp
“Incredible innings. For a 17-year-old to show such a range of shots plus also the concentration is just incredible. Breaking a 20-year record – outstanding; 232 and carrying your bat – unbelievable performance,” gushed Haidee Tiffen, the New Zealand coach.
“I’ve always known Amelia has tremendous potential with the bat. I genuinely believe she will be a top-class all-rounder for the team, and no doubt about it, she will be batting in the top order for the White Ferns in the future.
“Not only is she a talented bowler, which we saw first and foremost, but the fact that she has gone out and worked really hard at her batting and I know she is hungry to perform and contribute with the bat. Hugely talented player and at 17, she’s got the world ahead of her.”
It became as fantastic an all-round performance as it did because Kerr returned to pick up 5/17 too.
She had hoped she wouldn’t be asked to bowl, she said, and was expecting a bit of rest.
“That’s hard. After my innings, I had a little nap. And went out to field. A bit sore, but it was a good day, so just embraced it and it was good to be out there with the team,” she said.
“I didn’t think I was actually going to bowl today, they would just let me have a rest in the field, standing at slip all day. But I got to have a bowl, which was nice. The pitch was turning, which usually helps me.”