The ‘no talks, only fist-pumps’ Knight-Haynes partnership, a teenager and a 20-year old
A total of five 100-run partnerships have been stitched so far in the sixth edition of the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL). Two of them are by one pair, prolific, if we may add – Heather Knight and Rachael Haynes. What stands out is both of those stands have come for the fourth wicket. Incidentally, one of those – the 122-run alliance they forged against Adelaide Strikers – is the best ever in the WBBL.
On Tuesday (November 17), the pair was at it again, adding an undefeated 73 for the third wicket in a successful run-chase against a clueless Melbourne Renegades. Sydney Thunder were set a target of 127, which, as Amy Satterthwaite, the Renegades’ skipper admitted, was below par. Haynes joined Knight in the middle with Thunder at 59 for 2 at the end of the power play.
The thing with experience is it cannot be bought; not even with all the wealth in the world. Knight and Haynes showed just that, as they took time to get their eye in while still managing to find at least one boundary an over in each of the next four overs. It was, to paraphrase Selena Gomes, killing Renegades with kindness. And at the base of it all was no talk, only fist pumps!
“She doesn’t really say much,” said Knight with a laugh, speaking after the match, when asked about their equation.
“She keeps pieing me on the fist-pumps actually. I try and give her a fist-pump and she doesn’t actually do it. She only gives me fist pumps for hitting sixes.”
With 29 needed and eight overs in hand, Thunder got 34 in the next 15 balls, thanks to a massive assault by the pair. Knight finished it off hitting successive fours and a six off Ella Hayward’s off-spin and brought up her 12th WBBL half century in the process.
“I enjoy it,” she said about batting with Haynes, “she’s very clear in her game.”
“She’s obviously very experienced. I’ve played a lot against her. Yes, she was hard to set fields to. I enjoy batting with her.”
“We’ve got some nice partnerships. We want to be the two that try and score the bulk of the runs and finish off the games.”
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that they are the top two run-getters for Thunder this season, with the English skipper third in the list of most runs scored in WBBL06.
While the duo ensured that Thunder got over the line, thus rising to third in the points table, the victory was set up by the bowling group. They were clinical as well as economical with the young Hannah Darlington leading the way with a three-fer.
“I think she’s close to her best figures,” said Knight about the youngster’s three for 22. “She’s brilliant at finishing those games and very clear. She’s got a very mature head on her shoulders for a 19-year old. That’s very pleasing and we’ve got a lot of bowlers that are finding their straps as well.”
While the teenager took her wicket tally in WBBL06 to nine, another youngster in Renegades showed promise in her knock.
Josie Dooley walked in at No.3 in the third over with the team rocked back early, thanks to Lizelle Lee’s dismissal. A couple of overs later, she saw Sophie Molineux walk back with not much on the board. The 20-year-old then set about resurrecting the Renegades innings along with skipper Satterthwaite.
Some smart bowling by Thunder, featuring changes of pace as well as varying lines and lengths meant that runs were hard to come by. But Dooley showed patience and was happy to play the waiting game and score when the opportunity came. She added 76 for the third wicket with the Kiwi southpaw.
“She’s come in and had an opportunity to bat at no. 3 and has produced two good innings,” said Satterthwaite, heaping praise on the youngster. “She’s a very busy cricketer and scores off lot of balls which is great. She’s only going to get better from the experience and having the opportunity in the middle.”
Dooley eventually finished on 46 off 44 balls. But the feature of her knock was her running between the wickets – she found the fence only thrice. Her innings came to a close when she tried to be innovative in a bid to explore the fine leg region and ended up playing one on to her stumps, aptly, off Darlington.
Dooley’s knock was a follow-up to her 36-run innings against Melbourne Stars in the last match. Then, Courtney Webb, another 20-year-old, hit a match-winning fifty. The youngsters have managed to put their hand up; it’s time for the experienced batters in the Renegades line-up to show their presence.