A magnificent 83 from Heather Knight headlines Sydney Thunder’s thumping of Adelaide Strikers

Heather Knight in action. © Getty Images

A collective bowling performance helped Sydney Thunder thump Adelaide Strikers by 58 runs in the third round of Women’s Big Bash League at the Sydney Showground Stadium on Saturday (October 31) after a magnificent 83 off 39 balls from Heather Knight took them to a mammoth score.

Chasing 191, the Strikers’ needed a strong start in the powerplay, but the openers Katie Mack and Tahlia McGrath took their time with the first boundary coming only in the fourth over. Just as McGrath was looking good smashing Shabnim Ismail for two fours, she lost her partner Mack to a leg-side delivery from Lauren Smith. The off-spinner struck again in her next over with the prized scalp of Laura Wolvaardt when she had her caught at cover by a juggling Tammy Beaumont. Strikers were soon reduced to 58 for 3.

For a brief while it seemed like McGrath will pose the Sydney side some challenge in the company of Stafanie Taylor, but smashed one on to her stumps for 46 as she tried to go after every ball with the required run rate mounting over 15. Once McGrath was dismissed the Strikers stuttered to a tame finish with wickets falling at regular intervals. Adelaide Strikers eventually fell 58-run short ending their innings at 132 for 8.

For Thunder, Smith finished with figures of 3 for 26, while Sam Bates took 2 wickets for 20 runs.

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Earlier put into bat by the Strikers, Thunder openers struggled to make use of the powerplay with Megan Schutt and Darcie Brown keeping it tight. Rachel Trenaman, in particular, found it tough and was on 6 from 17 ball at one stage. Even though she managed to hit Taylor for a six in the fifth over, Thunder lost Beaumont in the next over when she was caught at mid-off off Schutt.

Sammy-Jo Johnson, promoted to number three to up the ante, got into her groove straightaway. She took a liking to Amanda-Jade Wellington hitting four sixes in her only over of the match. Johnson hit her first ball, a floated delivery, over long-off and then peppered the leg-side with three more as Wellington struggled with her length.

Strikers pegged the innings back with back-to-back strike from the next two overs, sharp work from Tegan McPharlin saw Trenaman getting stumped off a wide in the eight over bowled by Sarah Coyte and McGrath dismissed dangerous looking Johnson with an inside edge to the keeper McPharlin.

At 68 for 3, it looked like Thunder was heading for a middling score on a fresh wicket. But that brought the pair of Knight and Rachael Haynes to the crease. Haynes started the innings with two imperious drives through point, soon Knight joined her in an onslaught where the Ashes rivals added 122 runs in 10.1 overs.

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The England skipper employed her trademarks to good effect, while also using her supple wrists to manipulate the field. She brought up her fifty from 30 balls with a boundary off Coyte. She was severe on McGrath, smashing her for five boundaries and a six before holding out at long-on in the 19th over having scored 31 runs from the last nine balls she faced. Haynes was dismissed in the next over for a well-made 27-ball 39. Thunder’s innings eventually finished at a mammoth 190 for 6.

For the Strikers, Coyte was the most successful bowler, with figures of 3 for 32, while expensive McGrath took two wickets.

Brief Scores: Sydney Thunder 190/6 in 20 overs (Heather Knight 83, Rachael Haynes 39; Sarah Coyte 3-32, Tahlia McGrath 2-43) beat Adelaide Strikers 132/8 in 20 overs (Tahlia McGrath 46; Lauren Smith 3-26, Sam Bates 2-20) by 58 runs. POTM: Heather Knight.