There is something about low scoring games that brings the best out of the players and the drama that comes with it. One of the great aspects of the WBBL is the games have been played at some of the most picturesque grounds in Australia, Trager Park, Alice Springs is no different. The Adelaide Strikers got the early wicket and then never let go of this match as they won by a comfortable margin of six wickets even though it went down to the penultimate ball.
Overnight rain had meant that the match was reduced to 16 overs a side. With moisture still around both captains were eager to bowl first. It was Suzie Bates who was to put the Scorchers in.
It looked a good decision when Megan Schutt got the ball to move around from the start. Elyse Villani was bowled from the last ball of the first over by Schutt, who wasn’t aware she had taken the top of off-stump with a ball that swung back in.
It was tough going for the Scorchers as the Strikers were able to use a number of experienced seam bowlers who could exploit the conditions; it was Sophie Devine who would see the end of the dangerous Nat Sciver who played all around a full ball and was bowled.
With the powerplay reduced to four overs, the Scorchers were 22 for 2 and were looking to build. It was something they were not able to do as they lost wickets at regular intervals.The big wicket of Nicole Bolton for 10 outlined just how difficult it was to bat against a disciplined attack.
It was to be the Tahlia McGrath show after taking that catch that saw the end of Bolton then took 3 for 17 with the ball and also affected the run out of Katherine Brunt.
There was some debate over the stumping of Chloe Piparo who looking to get down the pitch missed it and Tegan McPharlin took the stumping, however, it looked like her gloves were in front of the stumps and the stumping which had gone to the third umpire shouldn’t have stood.
The Scorchers struggled to 87 for 9 from their 16 overs. Low targets can sometimes be difficult to chase as the fielding side raise their game.
One player that is able to do that in just this situation is Brunt who got the early breakthrough as she dismissed her England teammate Tammy Beaumont lbw first ball. Brunt was fired up and made things difficult early on.
It was a case of the Strikers pacing their innings knowing that they didn’t have to try and force the pace, however, Devine looking to run a second hadn’t seen that Bates had not left her crease. It meant that Devine had to sprint back but even with a fumble the run out was taken.
It took McGrath some time to get going with the bat but put on an important partnership of 31 with Bates.
When it looked like the Scorchers were out of the game it was Brunt that dragged them back into it as she bowled McGrath, with still a run a ball needed it could have been the wicket that swung it back the Scorchers way.
When Emma King bowled Bridget Patterson with the scores level a super over could have been on the cards, and if Sciver had picked up cleanly the ball after It would have made things difficult for the Strikers but Schutt scampered through for the winning run.
Bates finished on 49 not out but it was an innings that took everything she had and was unable to take part in the post-match interviews.
It was a win that took them level on points at the top of the table as the sides still cannot be separated.
Adelaide Strikers v Perth Scorchers
Perth Scorchers 87 for 9 (Graham 19, McGrath 3 for 17)
Adelaide Strikers 88 for 4 (Bates 49*, Brunt 2 for 17)