Lee-Webb show ensures Renegades win, tougher qualification scenario for Sixers

Lizelle Lee in action against Sydney Sixers. © Getty Images

Push them to the wall and they come back charging!

Melbourne Renegades were knocked out of the sixth season of the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) before their penultimate clash against Sydney Sixers, who had to win both their contests to make the semis on their own. But thanks to a 79-run blitzkrieg by Lizelle Lee, Renegades inflicted a six-wicket loss on Sixers at the North Sydney Oval on Saturday (November 21). This meant that Sixers have to spend a sleepless night, having to depend on other results to go their way, if they are to qualify. It was the first time in WBBL05 that they’d failed to make the cut.

The game saw breezy knocks from two players, who aren’t alien to such innings. Alyssa Healy, who’s blown hot and cold this season, scored 63 off just 37 balls and gave Sixers the start (and a platform to launch) any side would dream off, while Lee’s stint with the bat trumped the Aussie’s in terms of effect and result.

Lee’s innings began with a touch of fortune, as Jodie Hicks couldn’t hold on to her slash on the very first ball of the run-chase. To make matters worse, that ball raced away to the fence. A couple of balls later, she nailed a pull through square leg for another four. Intentions were clear as 12 runs came off the opening over of the chase.

Lee then went on to smash young Stella Campbell for two fours and a six in the penultimate over of the power play. In the interim, she saw her South African team-mate, Marizanne Kapp, stifle Sophie Molineux with movement off the deck and in the air. Kapp then went on to keep Amy Satterthwaite quiet, after Molineux was dismissed by Campbell.

Lee only partially slowed down once the field was spread, before going on her hitting spree. She smashed Erin Burns for a massive six over long-on to get to her eight WBBL fifty. In the company of Courtney Webb, she took the attack to the opposition and the pair managed to score 68 runs between the 10th and the 15th over. Their 73-run stand decisively turned the game in the side in red’s favour.

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Although Burns then managed to get rid of the Protea opener, Webb, in the company of Carly Leeson (13 not out), saw Renegades home. The youngster finished unbeaten on 46 off just 28 balls.

Earlier, being put in to bat, Sixers were off to a flier, thanks to Healy’s blitz. She was severe on Molly Strano and Molineux in the power play while Ellyse Perry took on Lea Tahuhu. Even after the field was spread, Healy carried on her merry ways, hitting maximums in successive overs off Makinley Blows and Tahuhu.

On the penultimate ball of the tenth over, Healy played a scoop off Blows, where she had to adjust her shot a bit and got it over short third man to bring up her 12th half century in WBBL. At the halfway stage in their innings, Sixers were comfortably placed at 88 without loss, which soon reached triple figures, with both Healy and Perry set and ready to explode.

However, WBBL’s highest wicket-taker, Strano, added a couple more to her kitty to halt Sixers’ momentum. She first tossed one up outside off, inviting Healy to step out. The wicketkeeper-batter did that but missed the ball and was out stumped, but not before smashing 63 off just 37 balls. The 104-run partnership was broken.

A ball later, Perry tried to take on Strano and only managed to top edge it. Webb ran backwards from covers and pulled off a blinder to end the Sixers’ captain’s stint for 37. With two new batters in the middle, it seemed to be a case of yet another start getting frittered away for a team in WBBL06.

After Erin Burns’ departure a couple of overs later, Dane van Niekerk and Marizanne Kapp added 36 runs in just 20 balls to help Sixers get their noses in front. Kapp hit Strano for four fours in the penultimate over to finish unbeaten on 22 off just 17 balls.

Strano finished two for 35 while Molineux and Tahuhu picked one each.

Brief Scores: Sydney Sixers 166/4 in 20 overs (Alyssa Healy 63, Ellyse Perry 37; Molly Strano 2/35) lost to Melbourne Renegades 169/4 in 19.1 overs (Lizelle Lee 79, Courtney Webb 46*; Sarah Aley 2/31) by six wickets. PoTM: Lizelle Lee.