The weekend at Burnie was one which the Hobart Hurricanes finally started to fire in WBBL|04. Their first two games had threatened a win and it was third time lucky for the Tasmanian side. The Hurricanes won by 72 runs to inflict the first defeat to the Stars.
They were helped in truth by some sloppy Melbourne Stars fielding that allowed Smriti Mandhana find her feet. The Indian responded with a rapid innings of 69 from 41 balls.
Along the way, she was dropped on three different occasions; all off the bowling of Georgia Elwiss. With Hayley Matthews going well at the other end the Hurricanes were on course for their highest team score in the history of the tournament.
The two internationals were in full flow and they added 98 for the second wicket from 59 balls. Matthews turned to regain her ground was run out; In that movement, Matthews seemed to jar her knee which had nowhere to go. She had looked on course for a fifty at least as she was on 42 at the time and had cleared the boundary twice in her 30 balls.
Mandhana is a player that gives you chances to get her out; if you don’t, she makes you pay. It was that sort of innings today as she raced to her fifty from 24 balls. When she finally went for 69 the Hurricanes were in the ascendancy.
No other player scored over 23 although they were all hit quickly with the 23 not out of Sasha Moloney from 9 balls at the end allowed the Hurricanes to finish on 6 for 196.
Lizelle Lee meant business from the start of the Stars innings but she could only last 5 balls. The stars had started to rebuild with Katie Mack and Ange Reakes. The Stars yesterday had found two players who could build a partnership, today though wickets fell steadily.
The task of reaching nearly 200 proved to be insurmountable for the Stars. The Hurricanes were buoyed by their batting performance and were excellent in the field. Where the Stars dropped catches, the Hurricanes held onto them. Reakes was the only batter to pass thirty and did it at the required rate.
Heather Knight found herself on another hat-trick ball. She took the wickets of Nicola Hancock and Annabelle Sutherland in successive balls. In the World T20 she passed up that opportunity. Her 3 for 30 though was the icing on the cake of a good weekend for the England captain.
The defeat for the Stars shows that they cannot get too complacent after their first defeat. The Hurricanes will feel justified in the faith that they have put in their players and they will be able to build on their first win.