Haynes, Jonassen, Burns star on opening day of WNCL 2021-22

Rachael Haynes (L) and Jess Jonassen (R) © Getty Images

Rachael Haynes made a successful return to competitive cricket as she headlined New South Wales Breakers’ win over Victoria at the Junction Oval on Friday (December 17) in their first match of Women’s National Super League (WNCL). In another match of the day, skipper Jess Jonassen’s five-wicket haul helped defending champions Queensland Fire to get their campaign off to a good start.

Breakers were chasing 271 for a win and opening the batting Haynes put on a 116-run partnership with Alyssa Healy in 21.5 overs. The left-hander started with a few boundaries against speedster Tayla Vlaeminck and settled in once Healy started to play her shots.

Post Healy’s dismissal by Samantha Bates for 51 off 58 balls, Breakers lost a few wickets in quick succession and went from 116 for no loss to 159 for four. With Ashleigh Gardner and young Phoebe Litchfield back in the hut, Haynes needed someone to provide her support. But Erin Burns, another player returning from a pro-longed break, did more than that.

33-year-old Burns counter-attacked and took on the Victoria bowlers. She began her innings with a couple of boundaries through the off-side against Rhiann O’Donnell and then went on to smash 15 fours in the innings. With Haynes, she added 109 runs to take Breakers closer to the target. Even though the opener fell just short of a century when she became Bates’ third victim for 96, Burns finished the match in style with a boundary in the 44th over as she remained unbeaten on 80 off just 48 balls.

Earlier, having put into bat, Victoria posted 270 on the board thanks to an unbeaten 88 from wicket-keeper Nicole Faltum. Batting at number seven, she and Annabel Sutherland added 77 runs for the sixth wicket to resurrect Victoria from 120 for five. Sutherland scored 57 from 72 balls.

For Breakers, Hannah Darlington took three wickets for 54 runs, while Gardner chipped in with two wickets.

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Over at the Bellerive Oval, put into bat by Tasmania Tigers’ new skipper Elyse Villani, Queensland didn’t have the greatest of starts when they lost in form Georgia Redmayne for just five. With handy contributions from Georgia Voll and Charli Knott, they went past the hundred-run mark.

However, it was the partnership of Grace Harris and Mikayla Hinkley helped Queensland prop up their innings and take their total to 265 for eight from the stipulated fifty overs. Harris played an uncharacteristic innings with only four boundaries to score 64 off 84 balls, while Hinkley top-scored for the Fire side with 72.

For Tasmania, allrounder Heather Graham was the best bowler on display with three wickets to her name.

In reply, after losing in form Villani just for seven, Rachel Priest and Nicola Carey added 54 runs for the second wicket. Once Georgia Prestwidge accounted for the former New Zealand wicket-keeper and Jonassen castled Graham for one, Tigers couldn’t maintain the momentum in the chase.

Meanwhile, Carey was fighting a lone battle at one end and top-scored for Tigers with 74 off 95 balls. Once she dismissed Carey in the 41st over, Jonassen just ran through the lower order to bundle Tasmania out for 199. The left-arm spinner finished with incredible figures of five for 24 from 9.2 overs.

Brief Scores:

Victoria 270/8 in 50 overs (Nicole Faltum 88*, Annabel Sutherland 57; Hannah Darlington 3/54) lost to NSW Breakers 274/5 in 43.1 overs (Rachael Haynes 96, Erin Burns 80*, Samantha 3/61) by five wickets. POTM: Rachael Haynes

Queensland Fire 265/8 in 50 overs (Mikayla Hinkley 72, Grace Harris 64; Heather Graham 3/42) beat Tasmania Tigers 199/10 in 44.2 overs (Nicola Carey 74; Jess Jonassen 5/24, Meagan Dixon 2/28) by 66 runs. POTM: Jess Jonassen