Don’t like facing “yucky” left-arm pace angle, says Alyssa Healy
When Sydney Sixers stepped on the ground for their final league match of the sixth season of the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL), they knew they had to beat Melbourne Stars by a humongous margin in order to have a superior net run rate (NRR) to that of Perth Scorchers, who were the fourth team to qualify for the semi-final. At the halfway stage in the game though, Stars had posted 178 for four, when rain reduced the game to 19 overs per side contest. That meant, Sixers needed 184 for a win and they needed to get there in six overs in order to overtake Scorchers on the NRR.
“We spoke at the break that we were never going to get it, and we genuinely set us a target to win the game,” said Alyssa Healy, who blazed away to her fourth WBBL hundred, after the match on Sunday (November 22).
“My job in a chase is to get that run rate down as quickly as we can and it was pleasing to get it down to pretty much a run a ball at the end, so we didn’t have to chase too much at the back end. Ange (Angela) Reakes and Lisa Griffith at the back end were fantastic.”
The team in magenta romped home and sealed a five-wicket win with four balls to spare, but that was not enough. It is the second year in a row that the Sixers have missed out on a top four spot and Healy said that it showed the strength of the competition.
“There are no easy fixtures out here. There’s very tough scheduling and you’ve to back up from a night game to a day game the next day and back up again two days later. There are a lot of other things the competition throws at you, you’ve to try and be as consistent as you can.”
Captain Meg Lanning’s 77 off 59 balls was the centrepiece of Stars’ total and Healy lavished praise on her Australian skipper, while also crediting Trent Woodhill, their coach.
“She’s obviously in very good nick and she hits 360. She opens up all areas of the ground,” the wicketkeeper-batter said about Lanning.
“When you’re only allowed four fielders out, there’s always a boundary option for her. I wouldn’t necessarily say that there’s been an improvement but it’s great to see a consistent Meg playing and I think Trent Woodhill is a great person as a coach for that side. He really makes them enjoy their game and I think that’s when the Elyse Villanis, the Meg Lanning sand the like are playing good cricket.”
Healy also said that the Sixers’ ploy to deploy left-arm seamer Lauren Cheatle against Lanning backfired because of her class.
“Lauren Cheatle is a great match up for Meg. The left-arm pace is something that we don’t face a lot of. I think Cheats is the only one we’ve got in the country at the minute. We knew that angle was a little bit yucky; I don’t like facing it either. It is a yucky angle for Meg the way her bat swing is but ultimately she hung in there and cashed in at the end.”
Lanning’s effort, however, was in vain as Healy’s 111 and her 150-run opening stand with Ellyse Perry helped Sixers beat Stars.