The Perth Scorchers won the first WBBL semi-final at the Optus Stadium by 27 runs. The Sydney Thunder who finished second in the league stages can feel somewhat aggrieved that they were not awarded a home fixture as the men’s Big Bash dictated where these two sides would meet.
That said they stood a good chance of winning with a good balance of experience and promising young players.The Scorchers have got a well-rehearsed game plan and they executed it on the big stage as they won comfortably against a Thunder side that just did not come together.
The Thunder won the toss and chose to bowl on a green-looking pitch with a seam attack of Rene Farrell, Belinda Vakarewa, and Nicola Carey they felt confident that they could keep an attacking Scorchers under control.
They didn’t manage it during the powerplay as they raced to 51 for 0 after 6 overs. The Thunder, however, fought back in the middle overs. Carey made the initial breakthrough as Elyse Villani played across the line and was trapped lbw after only scoring 8 runs from her last 14 balls.
Nicole Bolton then scored three consecutive balls for four to take over the attacking role, but she was to only face five more balls before mistimed a drive and slashed it to point, it brought an end to an innings of 37 from 26 balls.
Natalie Sciver and Heather Graham then set about consolidating the innings as they milked the singles before they could help a big push in the final overs.
It was Sciver that was the driving force with a score of 38 not out from 28 balls, and along with Graham were able to take 19 runs from the final two overs to leave the home side on 148 for 2.
It was not going to be easy for the Thunder to chase nearly 150 and when Rachael Hayes was given out lbw to a delivery that Hawkeye suggested would have past comfortably above the stumps it was an even bigger task.
The Thunder needed Rachel Priest to at the top of her game and the early signs were good as she had scored five fours from her first 14 balls. Priest, however, was only to last five more balls as she mistimed a pull shot off Piepa Cleary and hit it straight in the air to Sciver at mid-wicket.
The following batters struggled to find any rhythm and the boundary. Alex Blackwell used up 22 balls to score just 9 runs before she was Emma King’s second victim as she found Villani at the cover to bring an end to her time in the middle.
King after two overs had figures of 2 for 3, accounting for both Blackwell and Stafanie Taylor.Fran Wilson was the last hope for the Thunder in only her third game took the attack to the bowlers early on. It was a well-judged innings full of inventive shots that didn’t allow the bowlers to settle.
Along with Carey put on a partnership of 42 from 30 balls before Carey chopped a King delivery on to her stumps.It was the end of the Thunder’s chances as the run-rate was well beyond them. Wilson was run out in the final over as she came back for a second run in the last over. Wilson finished on 46 from just 28 balls, it may have been a different story had Wilson batted even one place higher in the order.
The Scorchers have now qualified for their second final in as many years, they now wait to find out who their opposition will be and where the final will be played.
Perth Scorchers v Sydney Thunder
Perth Scorchers 148 for 2 (Villani 38, Sciver 38*, Carey 1 for 16)
Sydney Thunder 121 for 8 (Wilson 46, King 3 for 17)