Annabel Sutherland, Katherine Brunt shine for Stars; Carly Leeson, openers put Renegades back on winning track

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While Melbourne Renegades bowlers and Sophie Molineux toppled Adelaide Strikers at Sydney Showground Stadium, a century partnership from Elyse Villani and Anabel Sutherland and a brilliant bowling performance from Katherine Brunt ensured the Melbourne Stars a place in the knockouts with a 39-run win against Hobart Hurricanes at Hurstville Oval on Wednesday (November 18).

Melbourne Stars v Hobart Hurricanes:

With eight runs required per over, the Hurricanes opener Rachel Priest played the aggressor as she had throughout this tournament, while Nicola Carey took the back seat. Priest hit Natalie Sciver for a four in the first and two huge sixes in the third over. 

Coming back into the XI, Katherine Brunt provided the Stars with their initial breakthrough. She struck Priest in front off the stumps for an 18-ball 24. Erica Kershaw then joined Nicola Carey in the middle. Stars skipper Meg Lanning rotated her pacers and spinners smartly to ensure that the Hurricanes batters do not get easy boundaries. 

With the required run-rate steeping, Carey tried to go after Annabel Sutherland and got out for 23 from 32 balls. Although Naomi Stalenberg started with the boundary off her first ball, both she and Kershaw fell in quick succession. 

Sophie Day then dismissed Kershaw for a 23-ball 15, while Stalenberg was bowled by Brunt for 11. Holly Ferling got rid Hayley Jensen in the very next over. Chloe Tryon tried to launch an attack on the Stars bowlers as she hit Sciver for a six and a boundary. However, it was too big a battle to win by herself. She got out trying hit Day over long-on for a 12-ball 18. The Hurricanes eventually made 119 for 8 in 20 overs. Brunt was at her miserly best, giving away just 12 runs in her four overs picking up, two wickets.

Earlier, Having been asked to bat, Stars continued their aggressive approach, as the openers Villani and Lanning went after the Hurricanes bowlers. They smashed 20 runs in the first seven balls of innings. The Hurricanes bowlers pulled them back as the innings progressed. Chloe Rafferty dismissed Lanning in the last over of the power play for 19-ball 21. Promoted to number three, Sutherland joined Villani and tried to rebuild the innings. 

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The duo kept the partnership going with singles and doubles and brought up a 50-run stand in 41 balls. With the innings moving towards the death overs, Sutherland went berserk. 

She smashed Rafferty for back-to-back sixes over cover and down the ground. Villani, at the other end, was happy to play the anchor role. While Sutherland got her fifty in 36 balls, Villani reached the landmark in 42 deliveries.

 When they tried to accelerate, the Hurricanes kept to the lines and lengths and did not give the Stars batters any pace to hit them in front of the wicket. Despite not losing many wickets, the Stars managed to score only 159 for 3 in the 20 overs. Sutherland made a 51-ball 72 and Villani scored 56 from 47 balls as they added 120 runs together. They both got out in the final over of the innings to Belinda Vakarewa, who took two for 28 in her four overs. 

Melbourne Renegades v Adelaide Strikers: 

Sophie Molineux and Lizelle Lee were happy to take risks in the power play as they were chasing a run-a-ball target. Lee, in particular, smashed Darcie Brown for a four and a six off consecutive deliveries in the second over. 

Along with Molineux, she went after the Strikers seamers to make the most of the fielding restrictions. The duo hit three boundaries in the Sarah Coyte over and took the Renegades to 51/0 by the end of the powerplay. Once the field spread out, they were happy to rotate the strike and collect boundaries in between the poor deliveries. Lee hit Amanda-Jade Wellington for two boundaries before getting out to her in the same over for 48 from 34 balls. 

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Though Josephine Dooley fell cheaply, Molineux went strong at the other end. She brought up her half-century in 42 balls with a boundary off Tahlia McGrath, who bowled her in the very next delivery. By this time, the Renegades had already run away with the game. With 13 runs required from 22 deliveries, skipper Amy Satterthwaite and Courtney Webb remained not out till the end and saw the chase through for the Renegades. 

After choosing to bat, the Strikers were off to a bad start as they lost both their openers in the powerplay to the Renegades spinners. Molineux dismissed Katie Mack for four, and Molly Strano got rid of Tahlia McGrath for a 17-ball 19. 

Bridget Patterson, who could not get her innings going, fell soon after to Makinley Blows. Yet again, the onus was on Laura Wolvaardt to resurrect the Strikers’ innings. Joined by Stafanie Taylor, she tried to build a partnership. They added 31 runs in 32 balls before Wolvaardt got out trying to accelerate against Carly Leeson for a 40-ball 36. 

In her next over, Leeson dismissed Taylor and Amanda-Jade Wellington within a gap of three deliveries. Madeline Penna tried to up the ante with Tegan McPharlin. She smashed Blows for a six and Strano for consecutive boundaries. Her quickfire 26 from just 13 balls helped the Strikers get to 122/6 in 20 overs. Carly Leeson was the pick of the bowlers as she took three crucial wickets giving less than four runs per over.

Brief Scores: 

Melbourne Stars 159/3 in 20 overs (Annabel Sutherland 72; Belinda Vakarewa 2 /28) beat Brisbane Heat 120/8 in 20 overs (Rachel Priest 24; Katherine Brunt 2/12) by 39 runs.

Adelaide Strikers 122/6 in 20 overs (Laura Wolvaardt 36; Carly Leeson 3/14) lost to Melbourne Renegades 123/3 in 17.3 overs (Sophie Molineux 52; Tahlia McGrath 1/19) by seven wickets.

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