Hannah emerges Thunder’s Darling; Stafanie, bowlers shine for Strikers

Kaushiik Paul
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Hannah emerges Thunder’s Darling; Stafanie, bowlers shine for Strikers

Hannah Darlington in action. © Women's CricZone

It was a day of close finishes on Sunday (November 8) at the ongoing Women's Big Bash League (WBBL). If it was Adelaide Strikers bowlers who deserve all the credit to pull off a six-run win over  Melbourne Renegades, 19-year-old Hannah Darlington deserves all the applause for holding her nerve in the final over to cap a memorable victory for Sydney Thunder.

Sydney Thunder vs Hobart Hurricanes

Darlington held her nerve to bowl a brilliant final over to give Sydney Thunder a thrilling one-wicket win over Hobart Hurricanes on Sunday. Chasing a 130 to win, Hobart was sure to come out victorious with 28 runs needing in the last five overs with Rachel Priest standing tall at one end.

However, three quick wickets and a series of dot balls brought the figures down to 11 needed off the last six balls. Darlington, who had picked up a wicket earlier in the innings was given the responsibility and the medium-pacer didn’t disappoint dismissing Erica Kershaw off the very first ball of the over.

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The teenager gave a single of the next two before Priest hit her for a six to bring down the equation to four needed off two. She bowled a wide in the next before giving away just a single in the remaining deliveries to cap in a memorable victory for Thunder. Priest remained unbeaten at 83 off 64 balls.

Needing a par 130, Priest gave Hurricanes a flying start hitting Sammy-Jo Johnson for three boundaries in the first over. Although wickets kept falling in at the other end, the New Zealand wicketkeeper-batter was at her sublime best hitting the gaps occasionally and taking regular ones and twos.

Naomi Stalenberg (five) was the first to go, before Hayley Matthews (14) followed suit, both dismissed by South African quick Shabnim Ismail. Nicola Carey (12) too got a start but couldn’t convert. Hard-hitting Chloe Tryon also failed with the bat.

Ismail was economical among all with 2/13 from her four overs while Heather Knight also picked up a couple of wickets conceding only 12 runs. Darlington finished with 2/29.

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Earlier, a 49-ball 61 from Knight brought Thunder out of the hole after they were three down for 59 in the ninth over. Skipper Rachel Haynes, who enjoys a great partnership with Knight, couldn’t get going falling for eight to Amy Smith (2/15). However, it was the 31-run fifth-wicket partnership between Knight and Phoebe Litchfield (16) that propelled Thunder to 129/7 in 20 overs.

Adelaide Strikers vs Melbourne Renegades

Meanwhile, at North Sydney Oval, Stafanie Taylor returned back to form with a clinical 48-ball 60 to pull Adelaide Strikers from 25/4 in seven overs to 127/9 in 20. Sophie Molineux gave Renegades the opening breakthrough trapping Tahlia McGrath in front.

Katie Mack, who scored 50 against Brisbane Heat, the last day, was the next to go before Laura Wolvaardt and Bridget Patterson followed suit. However, it was the 43-run fifth-wicket partnership between Taylor and Amanda-Jade Wellington (21) that saved Strikers the blushes. It was also Taylor’s maiden in Strikers colours and also her first since 2018 when she had scored one for Thunder against Strikers.

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Meanwhile, with her 3/20, Molineux became the third player in the history of the WBBL to take 50 wickets and 1000-plus runs. The other two are Jess Jonassen and Sophie Devine.  In reply, Melbourne Renegades were never in the chase losing their top three for just 12 runs on board in the fourth over.

Georgia Wareham joined Courtney Webb in the middle and the duo added 47 runs for the fourth wicket before Webb was caught by Wellington off the bowling of Sarah Coyte. Wareham, on the other hand, continued her fine form hitting Wellington for a couple of fours before Patterson took a brilliant catch at the boundary to send her packing.

Carly Leeson hit Megan Schutt for a couple of sixes and a four to take 18 runs in an over, for her 17-ball unbeaten 31 towards the end, but that wasn’t enough as the Women in Red fell short by six runs to languish at the bottom of the table.

Brief scores:

Sydney Thunder 129/7 in 20 overs (Heather Knight 61*; Amy Smith 2/15) beat Hobart Hurricanes 128/7 in 20 overs (Rachel Priest 83*; Shabnim Ismail 2/13, Heather Knight 2/12) by one run.

Adelaide Strikers 127/9 in 20 overs (Stafanie Taylor 60; Sophie Molineux 3/20) beat Melbourne Renegades 121/8 in 20 overs (Georgia Wareham 42; Sarah Coyte 2/21) by six runs.