Harris keeps Heat on top as du Preez' knock goes in vain; Bates, Wilson help Thunder register their first win

Shajin Mohanan S
30 Oct 2021
Harris keeps Heat on top as du Preez' knock goes in vain; Bates, Wilson help Thunder register their first win

Samantha Bates (L), Grace Harris (M) and Mignon du Preez © Getty Images

Grace Harris’ whirlwind innings and her 140-run opening partnership helped Brisbane Heat continue their run at the top of the table in the seventh edition of the Women’s Big Bash League. Heat beat Hobart Hurricanes by 14 runs in a high-scoring affair even as Mignon du Preez’s valiant knock went in vain at the University of Tasmania Stadium in Launceston on Saturday (October 30). Earlier, Samantha Bates chipped in with key wickets to help Sydney Thunder register their first win of the season against Melbourne Stars after a maiden fifty from Tahlia Wilson.

Opting to bat first, Thunder lost the big wicket of Smriti Mandhana early with Kim Garth continuing her excellent form with the ball. The swing bowler got Mandhana to move across the off-side and hit it straight to Annabel Sutherland at mid-on in the third over for just three.

From there, Wilson and Phoebe Litchfield steadied the innings with an 81-run partnership. Wilson started with a boundary off Erin Osborne through point and anchored the innings. The left-handed Litchfield got going in the last over the power play with two hits to the fence off Sutherland as Thunder finished on 26 for one at the end of it.

Post the power play, both the batters found a boundary each of the bowling off Tess Flintoff. Wilson took on the spinners as well with four through the off-side off Erin Osborne as well as the left-arm spin of Sophie Day. Litchfield ended the tenth over with consecutive boundaries off Day to take Thunder’s score to 63 for one.

In the 11th over, Litchfield scooped Garth for a four through fine-leg before taking on Sutherland over mid-wicket for another boundary. Just when it looked like the southpaw will score her first fifty of the season, she perished at long-on off Osborne for 49.

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However, Wilson brought up her maiden fifty in the competition from 49 balls with a single of Sutherland. Thunder couldn’t have the final flourish and multiple runouts in the last over saw them finish on 133 for five. The wicketkeeper-batter top-scored with 53 off 53 balls.

In the chase, Stars got off to a terrible start, losing out of form Meg Lanning cheaply yet again with Bates castling her for just two in the second over. Sutherland didn’t last long either as Issy Wong got one to go through her after conceding a boundary. From ten for two, Stars needed Elyse Villani and Maia Bouchier to steady the innings and still keep them on track for the target. Villani hit Sammy-Jo Johnson through extra-cover for a four and Bouchier got one against Wong in the fifth over. They finished the power play with 37 without any further losses.

Stars’ chase looked on track when Villani smashed Kate Peterson for three boundaries in the ninth over. But it was up to Bates again as she removed Bouchier to provide Thunder with the breakthrough. Two balls later, Villani also walked back with Johnson trapping her in front of the wicket for 38 off 31 balls.

Post those two dismissals, Stars kept losing wickets at regular intervals with Garth and Osborne falling to Deepti Sharma in the 16th over. Needing 49 runs from the last four overs, the Melbourne side couldn’t find enough firepower at the backend and eventually limped to 114 for eight from the stipulated 20 overs. For Thunder, Sharma was the most successful bowler with three wickets while Bates got the important wickets of Lanning and Bouchier.

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Put into bat by Rachel Priest, Heat openers Redmayne and Harris played out speedster Tayla Vlaeminck quietly while the former attacked Belinda Vakarewa at the other end. Redmayne found three boundaries against Vakarewa with Vlaeminck giving away only six runs from her first three overs.

In the last over of the power play, Harris finally opened up with two fours off Molly Strano through long-off. Redmayne continued her aggressive ways as she found boundaries off Nicola Carey and Ruth Johnston. Heat were 84 without any loss at the drinks break after ten overs with the left-hander batting on 44 off 30.

Post the drinks break, Harris upped the ante as she took on Strano and Sasha Moloney in consecutive overs. The big-hitting allrounder got to her fifty off 39 balls with a huge six of Moloney over long-on. 16 runs came from the 13th over bowled by Moloney. In the next over, Harris launched Amy Smith over long-off for a maximum before hitting the leg-spinner through square-leg for a four. Redmayne joined Harris as she brought up her fifty in the final ball of the same over. The 140-run stand eventually came to an end in the 16th over when Harris ran herself out for 75 off 51 balls after a mix-up. Johnston removed Laura Kimmince early.

Despite a six from Georgia Voll and a boundary from Redmayne, only 27 runs came from the last four overs as Heat struggled to have a strong finish. Some good show on the field by Hurricanes saw four wickets falling in the last two overs. Heat eventually finished their innings on 170 for six from their 20 overs.

Priest started the chase with two boundaries in the first two overs for Hurricanes, but lost her wicket in the third over as Jess Jonassen trapped her in front of the wicket for nine. Hurricanes lost the second wicket soon with Johnston walking back to the pavilion in the next over.

ALSO READ: The paradoxical ways of Mignon du Preez

Du Preez started with a boundary off Nicola Hancock through cover and Richa Ghosh found a four in the same over with a scoop. Two more boundaries came in the next over bowled by Harris as Hurricanes finished the power play on 36 for two. 32-year-old du Preez struck two consecutive boundaries off Poonam Yadav’s first two balls.

The 18-year-old played a few inventive shots to take the score to 50 before Jonassen came back to remove the India batter for a nine-ball 16. With the score reading 50 for three in 7.2 overs, Hurricanes chase looked like a lost cause, but du Preez had other ideas.

South Africa batter found another boundary through extra-cover off Yadav and repeated the same feat against Courtney Sippel. Nicola Carey also hit a couple of fours at the other end to keep them in the chase. In the 14th over, the duo hit Jonassen for 12 runs. Du Preez scored a four and a couple off Hancock’s over to bring up her second fifty of the season from 38 balls. As many as 26 runs came from two overs in this phase with du Preez hitting Charli Knott for a big six. With 40 needed from the last four overs, it looked like the duo will take Hurricanes home. But Anneke Bosch struck with the important wicket of her South Africa team-mate to bring Heat back into the game. Du Preez was strangled behind the wicket by Redmayne off a leg-side delivery from Bosch.

Meanwhile, Sippel continued her impressive spell snaring Carey for 31 off 26 balls. Once both the set batters departed in the space of four balls, it was too steep a hill for the Hurricanes’ lower order to climb and they finished 14 runs short of Heat’s score. For Heat, Jonassen and Hancock picked up three wickets each while Sippel finished with excellent figures of two for 25 from her four overs.

Brief Scores:

Sydney Thunder 133/5 in 20 overs (Tahlia Wilson 53, Phoebe Litchfield 49; Erin Osborne 2/25) beat Melbourne Stars 114/8 in 20 overs (Elyse Villani 38; Deepti Sharma 3/25, Samantha Bates 2/14) by 19 runs.

Brisbane Heat 170/6 in 20 overs (Grace Harris 75, Georgia Redmayne 64; Ruth Johnston 2/30) beat Hobart Hurricanes 156/9 in 20 overs (Mignon du Preez 73, Nicola Carey 31; Jess Jonassen 3/25, Nicola Hancock 3/33) by 14 runs.