Spinners dominate as Melbourne Renegades continue their golden run in WBBL07

Poonam Yadav (L), Sophie Molineux (M), Harmanpreet Kaur © Getty Images

Table toppers Melbourne Renegades continued their dominant run in the seventh edition of Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) as they registered a comprehensive win – their seventh in the season – over their cross city rival Melbourne Stars in Adelaide on Sunday (November 7). The spinners once again were the stars for the side in red as Sophie Molineux and Harmanpreet Kaur took five wickets between them. Earlier, Brisbane Heat handed Sydney Thunder a thumping to register their fifth win thanks to Poonam Yadav’s frugal spell.

In the first match at the Adelaide Oval, opting to bat first, Smriti Mandhana got out of the blocks quickly for Thunder with a couple of boundaries in the opening over. She first pulled Georgia Prestwidge through mid-wicket for a four before driving the pacer to cover for another boundary.

Jess Jonassen introduced Grace Harris early into the attack in the third over, but was greeted with a six by Mandhana. The off-spinner struck in the same over with Tahlia Wilson finding Yadav at mid-on. The Indian southpaw added three boundaries off Prestwidge to end the power play with 51 for one – Thunder’ highest for the season.

When fellow left-hander Phoebe Litchfield joined Mandhana in the middle with a boundary, it looked like Thunder were on course for an imposing total. At the seventh over, Mandhana raced to 37 off 22 balls.

However, introduction of Yadav into the attack changed the fortunes for Heat with the leg-spinner striking in consecutive deliveries to remove Mandhana and Corinne Hall. Meanwhile, Litchfield took on Jonassen with a flurry of reverse sweeps and found two boundaries before cutting Anneke Bosch through point for another four.

With Charli Knott accounting for Deepti Sharma with her first ball and Litchfield holding out to Nicola Hancock at long-on to become Yadav’s third victim, Thunder’s innings derailed and were struggling at 101 for five at the end of the 14th over.

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Allrounder Sammy-Jo Johnson struggled to get going and it was Hannah Darlington’s cameo that took Thunder 143 for seven in the stipulated 20 overs. She remained unbeaten on 19 off 15.

For Heat, Yadav finished with impressive bowling figures of three for 17 from her four overs.

In the chase, Heat started with 11 runs of the long opening over bowled by Issy Wong, but Samantha Bates got Thunder an early breakthrough in the form of Harris in the fourth over. Georgia Voll started aggressively with a boundary in the first ball she faced before taking Sharma for some punishment with a four and a six to end the power play on 42 for one.

With Heat looking comfortable at 63 for one after nine overs, Darlington struck to remove the dangerous Voll for 25.

However, that brought Mikayla Hinkley to the crease and in the company of Redmayne kept the chase on track. Hinkley launched Bates over long-on for a maximum and then pulled the left-arm spinner through mid-wicket for a boundary.

With 41 needed from the last six overs, the duo took on Wong and Redmayne brought up her fifty with a boundary through fine-leg from 40 balls. Although Sharma eventually accounted for Redmayne, couple of big hits from Laura Kimmince meant Heat’s chase was never under threat.

Although Darlington found a couple of late wickets, but it was too little too late for Thunder as Bosch hit the winning runs in the 19th over. The Thunder skipper finished with three wickets to her credit.

In the Melbourne Derby, chasing a moderate total, Renegades continued their domination despite the loss of Evelyn Jones for a duck. Jemimah Rodrigues and Carly Leeson, playing in the absence of Courtney Webb, took on the Stars’ bowlers. The India batter hit Kim Garth for two boundaries through point early to get going.

At the other end, Leeson took on Linsey Smith for a pair of boundaries through point-cover region as Renegades sped their way to the target. Rodrigues added two more fours to the kitty off Erin Osborne to take the partnership over the fifty-run mark.

The pair kept going for the shots during their 81-run partnership and Rodrigues fell short of her fifty when she was dismissed off Garth for 45 off 38 balls. Leeson soon followed her partner for 41 as she became Garth’s second wicket. Kaur finished the innings once again in style with a boundary off Rhys McKenna in the 15th over to take Renegades to a big win.

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Earlier, after Meg Lanning opted to bat, Stars suffered an early blow with Elyse Villani getting out to brilliant catch by Rodrigues at point off Kaur. At the other end, Molineux kept it tight, not allowing batters to break free in the power play.

Although, Annabel Sutherland hit Ellie Falconer over backward square-leg for a maximum, she was caught at first slip next ball for just nine. Lanning added two boundaries and looked good in her brief stay before falling to Ella Hayward in the eighth over. Soon, they lost Maia Bouchier as well when she was caught by Molineux off Rhiann O’Donnell.

From 41 for four, it was up to Garth and Osborne to resurrect the Stars’ innings and the pair added 42 runs in seven overs for the fifth wicket. Garth, in particular, looked impressive as she hit O’Donnell through long-on for a boundary before cutting Falconer for another four.

Just when Stars needed the duo to up the ante, Garth was run out at the non-striking end for 32 off 24 balls. Post that, Molineux picked up two wickets to end her frugal spell giving away only ten runs from four overs.

Stars were eventually bowled out for 103 in the final ball of the 20th over. Kaur was the most successful of the Renegades’ bowlers with three wickets to her name.

Brief Scores:

Sydney Thunder 143/7 in 20 overs (Phoebe Litchfield 40, Smriti Mandhana 37; Poonam Yadav 3/17) lost to Brisbane Heat 144/5 in 18.2 overs (Georgia Redmayne 57, Mikayla Hinkley 33; Hannah Darlington 3/21) by five wickets POTM: Georgia Redmayne

Melbourne Stars 103/10 in 20 overs (Kim Garth 32, Erin Osborne 29; Harmanpreet Kaur 3/22, Sophie Molineux 2/10) lost to Melbourne Renegades 104/3 in 14.1 overs (Jemimah Rodrigues 45, Carly Leeson 41; Kim Garth 2/23 ) by 7 wickets POTM: Sophie Molineux

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