Rodrigues, du Preez shine in wins; Mandhana’s knock goes in vain

Mignon du Preez (L) and Jemimah Rodrigues (R) © Getty Images

Overseas stars showed their class as the final day of Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) action in Tasmania was lit by half-centuries from Jemimah Rodrigues, Smriti Mandhana, and Mignon du Preez. Melbourne Renegades registered their third win of the season even as their cross-city rivals Melbourne Stars were beaten by Hobart Hurricanes at the University of Tasmania Stadium in Launceston on Wednesday (October 27).

Renegades captain Sophie Molineux opted to bat first against Sydney Thunder, sending Rodrigues with her third opening partner of the season, Josie Dooley. The new opening pair took time adjusting in the power play as they could only score 31 runs out of it. Post the power play, the right-handed duo freed their arms against Lauren Smith in the seventh over, taking 14 runs from the off-spinner.

Thunder’s most economical bowler against Stars, Issy Wong, could not do much as she watched Rodrigues go up and over the off side to take the partnership beyond 70. Hannah Darlington handed the ball to Samantha Bates, who broke the huge partnership of 84 runs with the wicket of Dooley. Meanwhile, Rodrigues brought up her first-ever WBBL fifty by sweeping Smith for two runs.

Rodrigues played her shots even as Renegades lost experienced players like Jess Duffin and Harmanpreet Kaur cheaply. Kate Peterson trapped Kaur for just three to take her maiden WBBL wicket. Rodrigues remained unbeaten on 75 as they finished 142 for five in their 20 overs.

Also Read: Great to have Harman and Jemimah around the squad: Renegades skipper Molineux

Defending champions Thunder, who were desperate for their first win, needed a strong start to chase down the total, but opener Tahlia Wilson fell early. That paired Mandhana with another left-hander in Phoebe Litchfield and the duo navigated the power play without losing any more wicket. After facing five overs from the spinners, Mandhana hit Eleanor Falconer for 13 runs in the final over of the power play.

Courtney Webb broke the budding partnership as Litchfield was caught behind when she tried attempt a cut. Mandhana brought up her third fifty of the WBBL with a square drive. Her wicket in the 16th over created a domino effect as Thunder lost four wickets for just 34 runs in the next five overs. Webb was the pick of the bowlers for the Renegades as she took three wickets in three overs.

In the second match of the day, Hurricanes invited Stars to bat first and Elyse Villani got them off to a flyer, scoring 30 runs off just 19 balls in the power play. At the other end, Annabel Sutherland struggled throughout her short innings and was bowled by Vlaeminck in the 8th over.

Fired up Vlaeminck then destroyed the woodwork of  Meg Lanning and Villani in the space of three balls. After losing these wickets in quick succession, Kim Garth and Maia Bouchier went on a counter-attack. Bouchier clobbered a short ball from Vlaeminck over fine-leg to show intentions early. Garth was not far behind as she hit unbeaten 44 runs off just 29 balls. The pair put the highest fourth wicket partnership of the season to take Stars to 144 for four in 20 overs.

Also Read: The paradoxical ways of Mignon du Preez

In the defense, Garth started from where she left in the previous match against Thunder by dismissing Ruth Johnston for a golden duck. Hurricanes captain Rachel Priest went after Garth and Sutherland in the power play but she skied one and Sophie Day took a simple catch off her own bowling.

The South African international du Preez then took charge of the chase against her former side. She put on a partnership of 74 runs with Nicola Carey to take Hurricanes closer to their target. The right-handed batter amassed 62 runs in 45 balls including five fours and three huge sixes. She was dismissed by Sutherland with Hurricanes still needing 21 runs off 19 balls. Richa Ghosh, batting at 5, then hit four boundaries to take them home with four balls to spare.

Brief Scores: 

Melbourne Renegades: 142/5 in 20 overs (Jemimah Rodrigues 75*, Josephine Dooley 37; Kate Peterson 2/10) beat Sydney Thunder 133/8 in 20 overs (Smriti Mandhana 63, Deepti Sharma 23; Courtney Webb 3/21) by 9 runs POTM: Jemimah Rodrigues

Melbourne Stars 144/4 in 20 overs (Kim Garth 44*, Maia Bouchier 42; Tayla Vlaeminck 3/27) lost to Hobart Hurricanes 147/4 in 19.2 overs ( Mignon du Preez 62, Richa Ghosh 24*; Sophie Day 1/17) by 6 wickets POTM: Mignon du Preez

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