Tahlia McGrath continued her rich vein of form, leading Adelaide Strikers to a comprehensive eight-wicket win with an unbeaten half-century against Melbourne Renegades on Wednesday at the Bellerive Oval (October 20). Meanwhile, an all-round performance from Annabel Sutherland helped Melbourne Stars beat Sydney Sixers by 30 runs.
Strikers were at 47 for two after 5.2 overs while chasing 127. Dane van Niekerk and Katie Mack have gone after the Renegades bowlers in the power play. However, if ever there was a chance for Renegades to come back into the contest, that was it. Coming on the back of a player of the match performance, McGrath joined Laura Wolvaardt in the middle.
Strikers played out Sophie Molineux with caution, but once Georgia Wareham got injured, McGrath and Wolvaardt made the most of the opportunity. The former was the aggressor in the partnership, taking on Harmanpreet Kaur and Carly Leeson.
When Evelyn Jones came on, McGrath launched her over deep square-leg boundary. She smashed 50 runs from 39 balls, taking the team across the line in 17.3 overs. Wolvaardt remained not out at the other end with 32 runs from 38 balls.
Earlier, Renegades lost Molineux and Courtney Webb cheaply. India T20I skipper Kaur joined Jemimah Rodrigues in the middle. Together, they struck a partnership, with Kaur picking up the occasional boundaries. Rodrigues struggled to gain some momentum and eventually got out to Amanda-Jade Wellington for a 17-ball 13.
Kaur kept the innings going with Jones, but she fell nine runs short of her half-century trying to take on Darcie Brown. Jones and Wareham some crucial boundaries in the final overs. They helped Renegades finish with 126 for six in 20 overs. Sarah Coyte was the pick of the bowlers, taking three for 20 in her four overs.
Meanwhile, Stars openers Elyse Villani and Sutherland went after Sixers bowlers from ball one. They added 28 runs in three overs before Gardner broke the partnership. The off-spinning allrounder got rid of Villani for a six-ball ten. Sutherland, who has been struggling for form with the bat, seemed accustomed to her new role at the top.
With her skipper Meg Lanning, she forged a partnership for the second wicket. They scored 32 runs together before Stella Campbell got rid of Lanning. Sutherland was going strong at the other end, bringing up her second WBBL fifty.
Gardner, once again, dismissed the set batter for 57 runs, but Maia Bouchier and Kim Garth came through for Stars taking them to 139 for three in 20 overs. The former scored 32 runs from 25 balls while Garth made a 21-ball 24.
Chasing seven runs per over, Sixers lost Shafali Verma for a three-ball duck. Alyssa Healy got out shortly after, trying to pull Sutherland over deep mid-wicket for 14 runs from 13 balls. Gardner kept Sixers in the chase along with Ellyse Perry. The duo added 32 runs before Sophie Day removed Gardner for a 33-ball 31.
Sixers captain Perry, joined by experienced campaigner Nicole Bolton, made sure that they did not lose quick wickets. Just when it seemed like they were about to accelerate, Tess Flintoff dismissed Bolton and Maitlan Brown off consecutive deliveries in the 15th over. Sixers could not revive their innings from thereon.
They eventually fell short by 30 runs. Garth was the most successful bowler for Stars, taking three wickets. Perry top-scored with 40 runs from 43 balls for Sixers.
Melbourne Renegades 126/6 in 20 overs (Harmanpreet Kaur 41, Evelyn Jones 36; Sarah Coyte 3/20) lost to Adelaide Strikers 129/2 in 17.3 overs (Tahlia McGrath 50*, Laura Wolvaardt 36; Ellie Falconer 1/14) by eight wickets. POTM: Tahlia McGrath
Melbourne Stars 139/3 in 20 overs (Annabel Sutherland 57, Maia Bouchier 32; Ashleigh Gardner 2/16) beat Sydney Sixers 109/8 in 20 overs (Ellyse Perry 40, Ashleigh Gardner 31; Kim Garth 3/17) by 30 runs. POTM: Annabel Sutherland