A thriller, an easy chase, and Sophie Devine’s six-hitting spree were the highlights of the fourth weekend of the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) in Australia. Perth Scorchers, Melbourne Renegades and Adelaide Strikers won their respective ties against Sydney Thunder, Hobart Hurricanes and Melbourne Stars.
At the Karen Rolton Oval in Adelaide, Scorchers beat Thunder by seven runs. Heather Graham was the star with bat and ball. Her late innings blitz of 33 not out propelled Scorchers to 151 for five before she picked up three wickets to put brakes on Thunder’s innings.
Sent into bat first Scorchers were jolted early with the loss of Amy Jones and Meg Lanning – both openers dismissed inside the power play. The resurrection of Scorchers’ innings came in the form of a 59-run stand between Natalie Sciver (37) and Georgia Redmayne (35). The duo mixed caution with aggression and picked up the odd boundary to put Scorchers innings back on the track. However, their dismissals in quick succession meant Thunder found a way back into the game. That was when Graham came in to the picture. The diminutive right-hander clobbered two fours and two sixes in her unbeaten 20-ball knock.
Chasing 152, Thunder lost Rachel Priest and Stalenberg early, but the experience of Alex Blackwell (29) – the stand-in skipper – yet again helped pull things back in Thunder’s favour. She stitched together a vital 55-run partnership with Tahlia Wilson (47 not out), but it wasn’t enough to get her team over the line – something Graham made sure of.
In the second match in Melbourne, Renegades cruised to victory against Hurricanes by eight wickets. Danni Wyatt steered the hosts home with an unbeaten 44 in the company of Tammy Beaumont who scored 37. Molly Strano’s three wickets, earlier in the day, were crucial in restricting the Hurricanes to a below-par 108 for 8.
Opting to field first Renegades made good use of the pitch as they picked up four wickets in 10 overs. There was no partnership of note as Hurricanes struggled for momentum. Heather Knight top-scored for the visitors with 20 runs. Strano was the pick of the bowler for Renegades with figures of 3 for 19.
Chasing just 109, Wyatt and Beaumont shared a 62-run stand to ensure their team got over the line without any hiccups. They eventually overcame the target with 27 balls to spare.
In the final match of the day in Adelaide, Strikers downed Stars by 17 runs. Sent into the bat Strikers’ innings revolved around Sophie Devine. First, she opened the game with a crucial 60-run stand with Suzie Bates (36) and later closed the innings with five sixes in the final over bowled by Madeline Penna to give Strikers a competitive total of 164. The big-hitting allrounder finished unbeaten on 85.
Chasing a tall target of 165, Stars lost Elyse Villani early. Lizellee Lee and Mignon du Preez, the South African duo, took the chase deep, sharing a 113-run partnership before the former was out for 52. Du Preez kept the chase alive but eventually, she was out for 70 runs in the 18th over. That ended their hopes as Stars innings petered to a tame end, eventually finishing on 147 for 8.
Perth Scorchers 151/5 in 20 overs (Natalie Sciver 37, Georgia Redmayne 35; Hannah Darlington 2-24) beat Sydney Thunder 144/6 in 20 overs (Tahlia Wilson 47*, Alex Blackwekk 29; Heather Graham 3-22, Tanaele Peschel 2-20) by seven runs. PoM: Heather Graham.
Hobart Hurricanes 108/8 in 20 overs (Heather Knight 20; Molly Strano 3-19, Maitlan Brown 2-19) lost to Melbourne Renegades 109/2 in 15.4 overs (Danni Wyatt 45*, Tammy Beaumont 37; Belinda Vakarewa 2-16) by eight wickets. PoM: Molly Strano.
Adelaide Strikers 164/4 in 20 overs (Sophie Devine 85*, Suzie Bates 36; Madeline Penna 3-50) beat Melbourne Stars 147/8 in 20 overs (Mignon du Preez 70, Lizelle Lee 52; Amanda Jade-Wellington 3-31, S Bates 2-17) by 17 runs. PoM Sophie Devine.