Sharma, Mandhana star for Sydney Thunder; Melbourne Stars trounce Brisbane Heat with all-round display

Shajin Mohanan S
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Sharma, Mandhana star for Sydney Thunder; Melbourne Stars trounce Brisbane Heat with all-round display

Deepti Sharma (L) stars for Sydney Thunder, while all-round Melbourne Stars register another win © Getty Images

An all-round performance from Deepti Sharma and a fifty from Smriti Mandhana helped Sydney Thunder to a comprehensive win over Hobart Hurricanes at the University of Tasmania Stadium in Launceston on Sunday (October 31). In the second match of the day in Women's Big Bash League (WBBL), Melbourne Stars romped home against Brisbane Heat thanks to a collective bowling performance from all the pacers.

Opting to bat first, Thunder lost Tahlia Wilson – top scorer from the last match – early when Tayla Vlaeminck castled her for just three. That brought Phoebe Litchfield to the crease as Mandhana pulled the speedster for a four to kick-start her innings. The India opener then came down the wicket to thump Belinda Vakarewa over mid-wicket for a maximum before driving Vlaeminck through point for a four. Thunder ended the power play on a healthy 42 for one.

Post the power play, Litchfield opened up hitting Nicola Carey for consecutive boundaries. She also launched Ruth Johnston for a six over long-on before adding one more four through long-off on her way to 31 off 25.

In the 11th over, Litchfield tried to take on the leg-spin of Amy Smith and was caught by Mignon du Preez on the boundary ending the 70-run partnership. Two tight overs later, Mandhana and Corinne Hall found a boundary each as they took Thunder’s score to 100. But Hurricanes struck back with the wicket of Hall when Carey had her caught brilliantly by Vakarewa for 12.

Meanwhile, Mandhana brought up her second fifty of the season in the 17th over before she fell to Carey for a run-a-ball fifty. Three boundaries in the penultimate over helped Thunder to post their highest-score of the season as they finished on 146 for six.

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Defending 146 runs for their second win of the season, Thunder got off to a great start with Issy Wong snaring the wicket of Rachel Priest in the second ball. Du Preez continued to make use of her good form when she started with a late cut for four off Samantha Bates.

Hurricanes couldn’t capitalise on the power play as no boundaries came in the next four overs. They lost Johnston in the sixth over to Sharma to finish on 25 for two at the end of it.

From there, it was up to du Preez and Carey to keep Hurricanes in the chase. The South African batter hit one more four before slogging Bates over mid-wicket for a six in the tenth over. But two overs later, she fell to Sharma for 41 off 39 balls.

Despite the loss of du Preez, Carey tried valiantly hitting Sammy-Jo Johnson for a boundary before reverse-sweeping Lauren Smith for a maximum. However, once they lost Richa Ghosh and Carey in consecutive overs, they succumbed to 84 for five. From there, Hurricanes’ innings petered out to eventually finish 37 runs short.

Batting first after winning the toss, Heat lost in-form Georgia Redmayne as Kim Garth picked up yet another wicket in the opening over for Stars. Other opener Grace Harris looked like she would continue from her match-winning knock against Hurricanes on Saturday. The right-hander found three boundaries in the first six balls she faced.

Harris started with a four of Garth through long-off before hitting Tess Flintoff for two consecutive boundaries. But on a slower surface, Heat batters struggled to adjust against the low bounce. Skipper Jess Jonassen tried to pay across the stumps and was caught at point for just six.

Soon Heat were reduced to 43 for four in 8.1 overs with Georgia Voll getting trapped in front and Annabel Sutherland accounting for the big wicket of Harris. Once they lost the big-hitting Harris, wickets kept falling at regular intervals as Stars’ bowlers kept bowling within the stumps, not providing any width to the batters.

In the 11th over, Sutherland struck again to remove Laura Kimmince and returned to dismiss Mikayla Hinkley for 20 in the 17th over. Heat couldn’t get any momentum in the innings and they stumbled on their way to score only 95 from the stipulated 20 overs.

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Chasing only a moderate target, Elyse Villani got out of the blocks quickly with two boundaries off Jonassen in the first over. She then cut Nicola Hancock through point for another four.

At the other end, Meg Lanning was happy to play the spectator as Villani faced all the 12 deliveries in the first two overs. Villani added two more fours to her kitty before Courtney Sippel accounted for her in the same over. Batting at number three, Sutherland departed early with Hancock removing her for just five.

But with only 60 runs needed for the last 14 overs, out of sorts Lanning had the time to play herself in and the Stars skipper let Maia Bouchier take the lead. The England international pulled Sippel for a four to start her innings before sweeping Jonassen for another boundary.

Meanwhile, Lanning eventually found her first and only boundary of the innings against Harris in the 15th over. Bouchier finished the match in style with a four through wide long-on to take Stars home. Their unbroken partnership added 63 runs for the third wicket as they eased their way to a comprehensive eight-wicket win.

Brief Scores:

Sydney Thunder 146/6 (Smriti Mandhana 50, Phoebe Litchfield 31; Nicola Carey 2/36) beat Hobart Hurricanes (Mignon du Preez 41, Nicola Carey 29; Deepti Sharma 3/13) by 37 runs POTM: Deepti Sharma

Brisbane Heat 95/9 in 20 overs (Grace Harris 28; Annabel Sutherland 3/21, Kim Garth 2/19) lost to Melbourne Stars (Maia Bouchier 32*, Meg Lanning 27*; Nicola Hancock 1/14) by 8 wickets POTM: Tess Flintoff