It was a no-nonsense victory for the Perth Scorchers at Casey Field, Melbourne. They beat the Melbourne Stars by 8 wickets with an over to spare. The Scorchers bowlers set it up, but it was still down to their top order batters that sealed the win to help finally get their season going.
As the Scorchers have become accustomed to in recent times, they were without captain Meg Lanning. Elyse Villani has filled those shoes well and she did so again today. She won the toss and put the Stars into bat. Rain had fallen in the previous 24 hours to suggest it might help the bowlers.
The still had to deal with the attacking pair of Lizelle Lee and Ange Reakes in the Stars batting line-up. Lee looked in dangerous touch hitting Hayley Jensen for a four and a six in the final over of the powerplay. The stars were 45 for 1 at that stage, however, they started to lose wickets at regular intervals.
Georgia Elwiss top scored from six in the order with a comfortable knock of 26 from 24 balls. Alana King and Holly Ferling both hit sixes towards the end of the innings to allow the Stars something to bowl at. 9 for 124 looked short of a par score but a spirited fielding and bowling display could have seen their side home.
The pitch had some turn in that would ensure the spinners were interested. It was just those style of bowlers that picked the only Scorchers wickets. Erin Osborne bowled Amy Jones for five as the wicketkeeper-batter looked to sweep the bowler through mid-wicket.
Nicole Bolton was the only other batter to fall. Villani is a consistent performer in this competition and it was inevitable that she would score another fifty. Villani wasn’t at her fluent best. It was a responsible innings though of 52 not out from 49 balls; enough to help her side across the line.
Heather Graham who had already taken 2 for 26 was Villani’s partner in crime. with 39 not out from 34 balls ensured the run-rate never got out of hand. The pair added 73 for the third wicket and they never looked like giving their wickets away.
Both teams have two wins and two defeats from their opening games. They play each other again tomorrow. It could be a crucial game in ensuring the side that starts to build some momentum going into a busy few weeks.