Mignon du Preez, Natalie Sciver outshine Strikers to win five in-a-row for Melbourne Stars

Mignon du Preez in action for Melbourne Stars. © Getty Images

If Meg Lanning doesn’t get you, Natalie Sciver will; if Sciver doesn’t, Elyse Villani will. When all three miss, Mignon du Preez will. Such has been the story of the Melbourne Stars campaign in this season of Women’s Big Bash League. It was no different on Tuesday (November 10) as Du Preez’s half-century and Sciver’s four-wicket haul helped the Stars register a five-wicket victory over Adelaide Strikers at Blacktown International Sportspark in Sydney.

It was an odd day for the table-toppers as their skipper Lanning, who was scoring fifties for fun, got out after a couple of boundaries trying to hit Megan Schutt through cover point. She sliced it straight into the hands of Alex Price for 11 off eight balls.

Villani and du Preez got together and kept the scoreboard moving for Stars. They were predominantly focused on the running between the wickets, picking up the occasional boundary.

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Du Preez was the aggressor in the partnership scoring boundaries off Madeline Penna and Price to keep the partnership going. Villani, at the other end, took her time to settle before launching the counter-attack. She went after Amanda Wellington hitting a couple of fours in the same over.

Villani, however, fell short of her half-century by four runs as she got out trying to slog-sweep Price over deep-midwicket. Sciver fell soon after as the English allrounder’s attempt to scoop Tahlia McGrath backfired.

Meanwhile, du Preez brought up her half-century in 44 balls as she hit Wellington for six and a boundary off consecutive deliveries. She took Stars closer to the target before getting out to Sarah Coyte for 61 from 51 balls.

With three runs required in the last over, Anna Lanning and Katherine Brunt ensured the fifth win on the trot for the Melbourne Stars. Coyte was the best bowler for the Strikers as she got the wickets of Villani and Annabel Sutherland giving away just 16 runs in her four overs.

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Earlier, Sciver got the Stars off to a great start by removing McGrath cheaply in the second over with an inswinger that trapped her in front of the pads.

Playing her first game of the tournament, Suzie Bates got her eye in quickly as she strived to build a partnership with Laura Wolvaardt. She hit Sophie Day through the covers and Alana King down the ground for boundaries.

When Katherine Brunt, who was back in the team after a break, tried to trouble her with short deliveries, Bates was quick to pull her off the front-foot for four. Along with Wolvaardt, Bates added 57 runs in 45 balls before getting stumped off Day for a 23-ball 28, when the left-arm spinner came from over the wicket and bowled it across the right-hander.

Joined by Bridget Patterson, Wolvaardt tried to maintain the momentum of the innings. However, the 19-year-old allrounder Annabel Sutherland had other ideas. She set Patterson up with a series of incoming deliveries and eventually, dismissed her for a 16-ball 6.

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With wickets falling at the other end, Wolvaardt held the Strikers innings together. She drove Sutherland through the covers and Tess Flintoff through the square for back-to-back boundaries. Just when Wolvaardt was trying to accelerate, Flintoff got rid of her for a 40-ball 46.

The Strikers were stuttering at 97 for 4 after 16 overs, and the Stars bowlers had a chance to try and restrict them for a below-par score. However, they did not help themselves in the field, as Katie Mack was dropped off King and Sciver’s bowling.

A late-order cameo from Wellington helped the Strikers get 140 for 7 in 20 overs. Sciver was the pick of the bowler for the Stars as she picked up four wickets in the innings, including Mack, Wellington and Madeline Penna in the last over.

Brief Scores: Adelaide Strikers 140/7  in 20 overs (Laura Wolvaardt 46, Amanda-Jade Wellington 29, Natalie Sciver 4-29) lost to Melbourne Stars 144/5 in 19.3 overs (Mignon du Preez 61, Elyse Villani 46; Sarah Coyte 2-16) by five wickets. PoM: Natalie Sciver.