As a young cricketer, Melie Kerr loved the IPL.
She also loved Indian superstar MS Dhoni, which perhaps explains why she would tell her dad that one day, she wanted to play for the Chennai Super Queens.
Of course, back then, no such team existed.
The Chennai Super Kings, yes. Queens? No.
But on the eve of the first ever Women’s Premier League final, the Kiwi allrounder says she always believed that one day there would be a women’s team while she was playing – even if the expectations were a little different.
“As a kid growing up I’d watch men’s cricket, then occasionally watch women’s cricket,” she tells 1News from her hotel, where her Mumbai Indians team is preparing to play Delhi after reaching the final (3am tomorrow, NZT).
“The women would have no crowd, and I’d think 'oh to play in front of that many people I’d have to be a male', so to be able to do that now is amazing and as a kid I always wondered what that felt like.”
Now she knows.
“The moments when you’re fielding and you’re running out to the boundary and they’re screaming your name and you give them a wave and the crowd erupts. That’s pretty special,” she says.
The 22-year-old is one of just two New Zealanders to have been chosen to take part in the tournament, with White Ferns captain Sophie Devine the other.
“It’s definitely exceeded my expectations,” she admits. “It’s a different world.”
“I went to the supermarket the other day and I had five of the staff members come up for a photo.
“We walk out of the hotel to the bus on a game and all the hotel staff are outside with music and flags parading us on to the bus!”
What has stayed the same is her form.
So far she’s averaging nearly 34 with the bat in the competition, while taking 13 wickets for 193 runs, at an average of 14.84 across nine matches.
In a game earlier this week she picked up 3 wickets for just 22 runs, scored an unbeaten 31, and helped run out Kiwi skipper Devine to lead her side to victory.
She’ll need to be on a similar level if Mumbai’s to win tomorrow.
“[The final’s] going to be a lot of fun, you don’t really think about the outcome too much, you can’t control that, so for me it’s just about being in the moment.”
And the result is almost an aside for Kerr, compared to what she considers “the most amazing thing” about the competition.
“You don’t just have to watch the men and hope one day there’s a women’s one.
“It’s actually there, and you can see it, and you can be involved.”
Whether the Kiwi wins or loses, tomorrow is set to be another defining day for women’s cricket.