Tegan McPharlin, Megan Schutt headline Strikers win over Sixers; Allround Sophie Devine leads Scorchers to a big win

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Tegan McPharlin’s rearguard action and a bowling performance led by skipper Megan Schutt saw Adelaide Strikers arrest their slide in the season six of Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) with Sydney Sixers falling short of a moderate target by 14 runs at the Drummoyne Oval on Sunday (November 15). At the Sydney Showground Stadium, Perth Scorchers registered a 34-run win against Sydney Thunder with an allround performance from skipper Sophie Devine.

Adelaide Strikers vs Sydney Sixers

Put into bat, Strikers found themselves in early trouble losing opener Tahlia McGrath for a five-ball duck to Marizanne Kapp. Katie Mack and Laura Wolvaardt tried to counter attack with middling success but Wolvaardt was dismissed to a good catch by Angela Reakes off Ellyse Perry in the last over the power play.

Strikers had another setback in the eighth over when a good-looking Mack was taken out by Stella Campbell for 29. All three Sixers pace bowlers used short-pitch deliveries to good effect to leave Strikers on the back foot.

Perry returned for her final over to further Strikers’ misery with her career best WBBL figures of 3 for 14. She first had a brilliant caught and bowled to dismiss Bridget Patterson before taking out Amanda-Jade Wellington with a well-directed bouncer. Dane van Niekerk castled Stafanie Taylor on the first ball of the 13th over to leave Strikers reeling at 56 for 6. At this stage, it looked like Strikers would struggle to even reach somewhere near the three-figure mark.

However, a counter-attacking partnership between Madeline Penna and McPharlin, who added 38 runs from 4.4 overs pushed Strikers well beyond that mark. McPharlin was aggressive right from the start and played some inventive shots to give the Strikers’ innings some semblance of respectability.

The wicket-keeper began the innings with a pull shot for four off van Niekerk and then slog-swept Erin Burns for a six. She drove Campbell past long-on for four before using sweeps to good effect against the leg-spin of van Niekerk to take Strikers to 119 for 8 in their 20 overs. She remained not out on 41 from 26 balls.

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Tegan McPharlin’s rearguard action proved to be the difference for Adelaide Strikers. © Getty Images

Perry was the most successful of the Sixers’ bowlers, taking 3 for 14 from her four overs.

Chasing a moderate target of 120, Sixers had a setback even before the innings started with Ashleigh Gardner being ruled out with a suspected concussion. Maddy Darke came in as the concussion substitute for the allrounder.

Sixers started very cautiously with opening bowlers Schutt and McGrath keeping it very tight for the Strikers. Alyssa Healy played one of her scratchiest innings in recent times. She was dropped at extra-cover by Sarah Coyte before hitting one to Penna at mid-wicket off Schutt to be dismissed for five.

The side in magenta struggled to get any momentum in the power play and could score only 20 runs from the first six overs managing to hit only one boundary in the process. Kapp broke the stranglehold with a couple of boundaries off Alex Price, but Perry continued to struggle at the other end.

Needing 76 from last 10 overs, Sixers needed them to go on for a few more overs, but the pair departed in space of three balls with the score reading 48 for 3 in 11 overs. Erin Burns tried valiantly with a 24-ball 28 with the required run rate going up to 10 from the last five overs.

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However, Schutt’s return in the 17th over saw three wickets-including a run out- fall at the other end leaving too much for Burns to do. It eventually came down to 27 from the last over and Sixers finished at 105 for 9 to succumb to their fourth defeat in a row.

Schutt was the best bowler for the Adelaide side, she finished with enviable figures of 3 for 7 from her four overs. Coyte took two wickets for 25.

Perth Scorchers vs Sydney Thunder

Meanwhile, at the Sydney Showground Stadium, Scorchers openers had a contrasting start after having elected to bat first. Beth Mooney did the bulk of the scoring in the power play while Devine was starved off strike. She started with a six of the opening over off Shabnim Ismail and added two more boundaries in the first six overs.

Thunder kept the leash on the Scorchers’ openers post power play and it eventually led to Mooney’s dismissal with the wicket-keeper playing a tame shot to cover off Lauren Smith for 26.

Meanwhile, Devine finally broke her unusually circumspect start when she cut Sammy-Jo Johnson through backward-point for her first four in the ninth over. Chloe Piparo got into her innings straight away smashing three boundaries bringing up the fifty partnership in the process.

At 92 for 1 in 15 overs, Scorchers were ready for the final flourish, but Hannah Darlington had other ideas. She struck on back-to-back deliveries in the 16th over to remove Piparo and Megan Banting. Nicole Bolton managed to survive a stumping appeal in the hat-trick ball, but was dismissed in the next over.

Scorchers lost seven wickets in the last five overs to finish at 131 for 8 from their 20 overs. Darlington finished with figures of 3 for 21 while Samantha Bates took two wickets.

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Perth Scorchers seem to be over-reliant on Sophie Devine (l) and Beth Mooney when it comes to their batting. © Getty Images

Chasing 132 to win, Thunder got off to a horror start losing key wickets of Tammy Beaumont and Rachael Haynes inside the first 10 deliveries. In-form Knight started off confidently with a few boundaries but Thunder lost Phoebe Litchfield to Devine in the sixth over leaving them 28 for 3 at the end of power play.

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Thunder were soon reduced to 42 for 4 when young Rachel Trenaman was dismissed by Heather Graham for five. Knight added 34 runs with Johnson but the pair couldn’t keep up with the required run rate as it kept climbing. They were dismissed in quick succession with having no choice but to go for the big shots.

At 6 for 81 in 15.1 overs, it was bridge far too big to cross for the lower-order and they folded in no time as Thunder collapsed to 97 all out in 18.3 overs giving Scorchers a big 34-run win. Knight was the top-scorer with 44 runs to her game.

Graham was the most successful bowler for the Perth side, taking 3 wickets for 22 runs. Bolton and Devine chipped in with two wickets.

Brief Scores:

Adelaide Strikers 119/8 in 20 overs (Tegan McPharlin 41*, Katie Mack 29; Ellyse Perry 3/14) beat Sydney Sixers 105/9 in 20 overs (Erin Burns 28, Marizanne Kapp 21; Megan Schutt 3/7, Sarah Coyte 2/23) by 14 runs. PoTM: Tegan McPharlin

Perth Scorchers 131/8 in 20 overs (Sophie Devine 45, Chloe Piparo 30; Hannah Darlington 3/21, Samantha Bates 2/20) beat Sydney Thunder 97/10 in 18.3 overs (Heather Knight 44; Heather Graham 3/22, Sophie Devine 2/12) by 34 runs. PoTM: Sophie Devine