Elyse Villani, Meg Lanning hand Melbourne Stars comprehensive victory

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Elyse Villani, Meg Lanning hand Melbourne Stars comprehensive victory

Elyse Villani in action for Melbourne Stars. © Getty Images

A swashbuckling counter-attack from Elyse Villani and the insanely consistent Meg Lanning ensured a seven-wicket win for Melbourne Stars against Adelaide Strikers on Tuesday (November 3) in the ongoing Women's Big Bash League (WBBL) at the Blacktown International Sportspark. With this win, Stars rose to the top of the table with seven points from five matches.

Chasing an above-par total of 155, Villani did not take much time to go after the Strikers bowlers. She hit boundaries of Darcie Brown and Megan Schutt, and when Sarah Coyte came into the attack, Villani smashed her for three fours in an over as they raced to the 50-run mark at the end of the powerplay.

When Schutt brought in Stafanie Taylor to take the pace off Villani, the 31-year-old hit the West Indian for three consecutive boundaries. Her partner Lanning was more than happy to rotate the strike and watch Villani go berserk at the other end. Of the first 50, Villani alone contributed 42 from 26 balls.


However, she was caught in the leg-side boundary by Bridget Patterson for a 28-ball 43. Mignon du Preez joined Lanning in the middle, and they made sure that the required run-rate remained under control.

Lanning took charge off the chase and hit Amanda-Jade Wellington for a four and a massive six over long-on. She scored a couple of boundaries each off Schutt and Brown to bring up her 21st WBBL half-century in 37 balls.

Du Preez, too, at the other end, upped the ante with a flurry of boundaries off the Strikers' bowlers. With nine runs required to win, she got out for a 26-ball 31 trying to hit Madeline Penna over mid-on. Coyte dismissed Lanning for a 58-ball 69 in the last over. Sciver, however, finished off in style with a massive six as the Stars chased the target with two balls to spare.


Earlier, asked to bat first, Strikers did not get off to a good start. Katie Mack got out to Natalie Sciver in the second over when the England all-rounder hit her on the pads with an incoming delivery. Laura Wolvaardt walked in at 8 for 1 to join Tahlia McGrath at the centre. The duo slowly, but steadily built a partnership. They were happy to score a few boundaries in between, and they kept the momentum going.

Lanning rotated her bowlers, trying to ensure that the Strikers batters do not get used to a certain type of bowling. However, both Wolvaardt and McGrath anchored the innings and added 78 runs in 70 balls for the second wicket, before the latter was bowled trying to reverse-sweep the leg-spinner Alana King. Bridget Patterson too fell in the same over when she mistimed a full-toss into the hands of Tess Flintoff at mid-wicket.


Strikers were 85/3 after 14 overs, and the innings was still in the balance. Accompanied by Stafanie Taylor, Wolvaardt took the attack to the Stars bowlers. She lofted a back of the length delivery from Annabell Sutherland with the straight face of the bat down the ground and followed it up with another boundary in the next over.

The 21-year-old brought up her half-century in 41 balls, and she continued to accelerate with back-to-back sixes off Erin Osborne. With Taylor, she stitched together 43 runs in 25 balls before getting out to Sciver for a 50-ball 68.

A late flourish from Taylor and an eight-ball 18 from Wellington took the Strikers past the 150-run mark. They eventually scored 154/6 in 20 overs. The 24-year-old leg-spinner King was the pick of the bowlers who took two wickets giving away just 23 runs in her four overs.

Brief scores: Adelaide Strikers 154/6 in 20 overs (Laura Wolvaardt 68; Alana King 2/23) lost to Melbourne Stars 159/3 in 19.4 overs (Meg Lanning 69, Elyse Villani 43) by seven wickets.