Rachael Haynes in action. ©ICC

In the final game of the first weekend of WBBL|04, it was the Sydney Thunder who put in a complete fielding effort. They restricted Melbourne Renegades to 8 for 98. It was a disappointing game for the home side as they never got going with the bat. Regular wickets fell as the Thunder rotated their bowlers to good effect. Their batters then knocked off the runs with minimum fuss to seal a six-wicket victory with 19 balls to spare.

Alex Blackwell, the Thunder captain, won the toss and put the Renegades into bat. The Thunder have one of the more experienced sides in the tournament and used it well. Rene Farrell is one of those players and she made the breakthrough with the last ball of the first over.

Sophie Molineux the all-rounder who only a week ago was winning a world T20 medal wasn’t so lucky this week. Farrell induced the leading edge and Molineux had to go.

The Renegades struggled to get going in the powerplay with only three fours conceded by the Thunder bowlers. Erica Kershaw looked the most comfortable as she top scored with 24. That was before she swung across the line and was bowled by Belinda Vakarewa.

Emma Inglis was the next wicket to fall although there was a fair amount of fortune for Nicola Carey who had stuck a hand saw it stick. It was a reaction catch that stunned the batter and the crowd.

Amy Satterthwaite was not at her most fluent. This was the fourth game on this pitch in the space of two games and it may have been a case of the pitch starting to lose pace. In truth, it was a mixture of good bowling and fielding but also a mixture of bad shots at the wrong time.

Rene Farrell as so often in this case was the pick of the bowlers with 3 for 17. It took an eighth-wicket partnership of 27 between Georgia Wareham and Molly Strano to take the Renegades close to three figures. It was about 40 runs shy of a competitive total.

The Renegades have some exceptional bowlers and they would never count themselves out. Tayla Vlaeminck who took the big scalp of Rachel Priest in her first over for the Renegades. In her second spell, she saw off Rachael Haynes. The Australian International had started to open up with two fours in the previous over. Haynes tried to hit over the top but could not clear mid-off.

By that stage, the Thunder were only two down and needed just 41 runs to win. Alex Blackwell who had spent the English summer coaching the Lancashire Thunder in the KSL starred with a cameo of 8 balls. In that time she hit 15 before becoming Vlaeminck’s third victim.

Vlaeminck was the only Renegades bowler to take a wicket. She finished with impressive figures of 4 for 29 in her debut match. When she took her fourth wicket the game was all but gone as Carey drove the next ball for four to seal the Thunder’s first victory of WBBL|04.