All-round Harmanpreet Kaur downs Sixers; Heat beat Strikers in rain-reduced encounter

Harmanpreet Kaur (L) in action for Renagades and Heat celebrate wicket © Getty Images

All-round performance from Harmanpreet Kaur made the headlines in the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) clash at the University of Tasmania Stadium in Launceston on Sunday (October 24). The India allrounder helped Melbourne Renegades to a convincing win against Sydney Sixers. Earlier, spinners – including Kaur – restricted Sixers to a below par score. At the Invermay Park, Brisbane Heat got the better of Adelaide Strikers by five runs with a superior batting performance in a rain-reduced encounter even as Laura Wolvaardt’s innings went in vain.

Opting to bowl, Renegades chose to go spin-heavy in the power play against the aggressive Sixers’ top order. They were immediately reward with the wicket of Shafali Verma when the right-hander hit Sophie Molineux straight to extra-cover for a first-ball duck. Kaur kept it tight and got the big wickets of Ashleigh Gardner and Alyssa Healy in consecutive overs. Only 17 runs came in the power play as all the batters continued to struggle against the spinners.

From 12 for three, Sixers needed Ellyse Perry and Nicole Bolton to resurrect the innings and that meant the duo couldn’t take many risks. Only one boundary came in the first 11 overs.

In the 12th over, Perry finally broke the deadlock with two boundaries off Ella Hayward. First, she used the feet to hit the off-spinner through extra-cover for a four and then drove one past long-off for another one. Despite the struggles, Bolton tried to keep the scorecard moving going at almost run-a-ball and eventually found the fence against the medium pacers Carly Leeson and Courtney Webb.

At the other end, Perry also started to open up with a six off Leeson in the 17th over. Just as Sixers were looking ready for the final flourish, Webb got rid of Bolton to end the 80-run partnership. Perry got to her fifty in the penultimate ball of the innings as they finished on 118 for four in 20 overs. For Renegades, Kaur was best bowler on display with figures of two for 17 from her four overs.

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In reply, Renegades’ new opening pair of Evelyn Jones and Jemimah Rodrigues started well. Rodrigues hit Gardner straight down the ground for a boundary and Jones took on Maitlan Brown with two consecutive fours. With the left-hander hitting Gardner for a four and a six in the next over, they were well on their way with 41 runs on the board from the first five overs.

In the final over of the power play, a mix up saw Rodrigues walking back to the pavilion for 14 off 15 balls. Jones continued playing with freedom as Webb found an early boundary against Lauren Cheatle. However, against the run of play, Stella Campbell got Jones to miscue one pull to Perry at mid-off in the tenth over for 38. Kaur took her time to settle and was on nine off 18 at one stage even as Webb was going at almost run-a-ball.

The India T20I captain finally got her first boundary with a top-edged four and another two in the 15th over. Sixers’ middling day in the field continued as Healy missed a chance to stump Kaur off Radha Yadav. Eventually Radha was rewarded when she had Webb caught off her own bowling in the same over.

But that was too little too late for Sixers, Jess Duffin started the innings with a four off Gardner and Kaur finished it off in style as she launched the off-spinner over deep mid-wicket for two consecutive sixes in the same over. Kaur remained unbeaten on 35 off 29 balls.

Over in Invermay Park, put into bat in the rain reduced 11-per-side match, Grace Harris got Heat out of the blocks quickly as she smashed Darcie Brown for three boundaries in the first over. Georgia Redmayne at the other end joined Harris, hitting Tahlia McGrath for a four through point in the first ball she faced.

Heat hit three more boundaries to take the score to 35 in the stipulated three-over power play. But Sarah Coyte helped Strikers finish the over on a high with the big wicket of Harris.

Despite losing her partner, Redmayne continued on her merry ways, taking on Dane van Niekerk to hit her over cow corner for a maximum. The southpaw was poised for more and young Ellie Johnston – making her WBBL debut – found a boundary off van Niekerk as well.

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However, Brown came back with a terrific second over where she hurried the Heat batters with the back of length quick deliveries. First Redmayne was caught by Katie Mack off a short one, then Johnston and Laura Kimmince were cramped for room while going for the pull, only to get caught.

From 57 for four, Georgia Voll provided Heat with the final impetus playing some eye-catching shots. She swept Amanda-Jade Wellington for a six over deep mid-wicket and backed it up with two pulls off Brown. The first one went for a four through square-leg and the second was a hard pull for a maximum over backward square-leg.

Despite losing Jess Jonassen for a ten-ball nine, Voll helped Heat finish on a high taking the score to 104 for five from their 11 overs. For Strikers, Brown finished with figures of three for 28, while Coyte picked up two wickets.

Strikers needed a fast start in the daunting chase and they opted to go with van Niekerk and Wolvaardt as openers. The latter started with two boundaries off Nicola Hancock in the first over, but they could only amass 21 runs from the power play.

With the mounting required run rate, van Niekerk welcomed Poonam Yadav with a pair of boundaries and a six from Wolvaardt in the next over took Strikers past fifty. Wolvaardt followed it up with a four and a six against Jonassen to keep them in the hunt.

However, Heat skipper had the last laugh when she accounted for van Niekerk and in-form McGrath in consecutive deliveries. Wolvaardt hit Georgia Prestwidge for her third six of the innings to bring up her fifty, but was dismissed in the next ball for 54 off 30 balls. With Madeline Penna getting out in the same over, Strikers were left to get 18 off the last over.

Despite Coyte finding a boundary in the first ball, it was too steep a hill for Strikers to climb. They needed a six off the last delivery to take the game to the Super Over, but fell short of Heat’s score by five runs.

Brief Scores:

Brisbane Heat 104/5 in 11 overs (Georgia Voll 31*, Georgia Redmayne 28; Darcie Brown 3/28, Sarah Coyte 2/19) beat Adelaide Strikers 99/4 in 11 overs (Laura Wolvaardt 54; Jess Jonassen 2/17, Georiga Prestwidge 2/24) by 5 runs. POTM: Laura Wolvaardt

Sydney Sixers 118/4 in 20 overs (Ellyse Perry 50*, Nicole Bolton 38; Harmanpreet Kaur 2/17) lost to Melbourne Renegades 120/3 in 17 overs (Evely Jones 38, Harmanpreet Kaur 35*) by 7 wickets POTM: Harmanpreet Kaur

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