Southpaws’ day out as Carey, Litchfield, Perry dominate WNCL with Tasmania, New South Wales registering wins

Nicole Carey (L), Phoebe Litchfield, Ellyse Perry (R) © Getty Images

Nicola Carey hit her second Women’s Cricket National League (WNCL) century at the Bellerive Oval to help Tasmania Tigers to get the better of Queensland Fire on Sunday (December 19). Phoebe Litchfield scored a magnificent 88 in New South Wales Breakers’ second win over Victoria on a rain-affected day even as Ellyse Perry’s fighting knock went in vain.

Having elected to bowl, Tasmania couldn’t find early breakthroughs as Queensland openers Georgia Redmayne and Georgia Voll added 83 runs for the opening wicket. Once Voll fell to Sarah Coyte, Redmayne and the middle order batters continued the scoring for Fire.

However, with Carey accounting for Redmayne after the left-hander scored yet another fifty, none of the Queensland batters could go on to score big runs even though they all got starts. Charli Knott made 34, while Grace Harris chipped in with 35 off 37 balls. With the rain stoppages, Fire eventually finished on 223 for six from 48 overs.

For Tigers, Coyte was the most successful bowler with figures of three for 40, while Heather Graham took two wickets.

Chasing 232 runs as per DLS Method, Carey came to bat as Tasmania once again lost skipper Elyse Villani early and saw the experienced Rachel Priest departing with the score reading 49 for two in 13 overs. The southpaw found her first boundary in the ninth over bowled by Georgia Prestwidge and was in the groove from there on.

With Graham joining her in the middle, Carey continued her impressive run in the tournament so far as they added 111 runs for the third wicket. When the southpaw brought up her second fifty from as many innings, Tasmania needed 111 from the last 21 overs.

Meanwhile, Graham scored a quick fire 55 with her fifty coming from just 60 balls. Although she departed soon, handy small contributions from the other batters helped Carey go through her innings without any hiccups and eventually got to her hundred from 109 balls in the 45th over. In the first ball of the next over, Emma Manix-Geeves drove a full toss from Voll through extra-cover to finish the match in style.

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At the Junction Oval, put into bat by Perry, Breakers didn’t have the greatest of starts with Victoria skipper dismissing Alyssa Healy for a duck. Despite Rachael Haynes getting out for 24 in the 12th over, Tahlia Wilson played an aggressive knock scoring 54 from just 51 balls to get them back on track.

Coming into bat with the score reading 107 for three, Litchfield found an able partner in Ashleigh Gardner. The Australia allrounder hit three boundaries in quick time before the young southpaw pulled Tess Flintoff for her first four. With Gardner also taking on Flintoff, Litchfield hit Rhiann O’Donnell through long-on for a boundary before repeating the same against Kim Garth to long-off.

In the 33rd over, Litchfield smashed Sophie Day over mid-wicket for a six, but Victoria came back into the game with Garth breaking the partnership as the swing bowler dismissed Gardner for 57 off 56 balls. Litchfield continued to take on the bowlers with Erin Burns in company. The duo added 66 runs in 7.1 overs before the former fell to Samantha Bates for a career-best 88 off 72 balls.

With the rain curtailing the innings, Breakers finished on 300 for seven from 46 overs. For Victoria, Bates was the only one to take two wickets, while five other bowlers had one wicket apiece to their names.

Post the rain delay, Victoria started the chase needing 256 runs from 35 overs and lost O’Donnell early to Stella Campbell. With Amy Vine getting run out and Annabel Sutherland falling for a duck, Perry needed someone to give her company in the face of a mammoth chase.

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However, Victoria were further reduced to 79 for five and was looking in dire straits when Nicole Faltum – who top-scored in the first game – joined Perry in the middle. The duo added 136 for the sixth wicket. Despite their best efforts, the pair couldn’t keep them in the game as the target remained imposing.

Perry, who struggled in recent times with form and injury issues, played aggressively hitting four sixes during her knock in a century that came from just 87 balls. Even post her hundred, the talismanic allrounder took on the bowlers and eventually was dismissed for 120 in the final over. Victoria were 26 runs short by the DLS Method when Day’s run out in the last ball ended their innings on 229 for nine.

For Breakers, Campbell – returning from a COVID-19 close contact induced break – was impressive with two wickets from her seven overs, while Burns and Hannah Darlington also took two wickets each.

Brief Scores:

Queensland Fire 223/6 in 48 overs (Georgia Redmayne 63, Grace Harris 35; Sarah Coyte 3/40) lost to Tasmania Tigers 233/5 in 45.1 overs (Nicola Carey 100*, Heather Graham 55; Courtney Sippel 1/34) by five wickets (DLS Method) POTM: Nicola Carey

New South Wales Breakers 300/7 in 46 overs (Phoebe Litchfield 88, Ashleigh Gardner 57; Samantha Bates 2/49) beat Victoria 229/9 in 35 overs (Ellyse Perry 120, Nicole Faltum 49; Hannah Darlington 2/37) by 26 runs (DLS Method) POTM: Ellyse Perry