We played our best cricket when under pressure: Rachael Haynes after WBBL06 triumph

Rachael Haynes led Sydney Thunder team celebrate their WBBL victory. © Getty Images

When Sydney Thunder lost by four runs in a close encounter during the latter stages of the league phase, they were under pressure. After the loss against the Sixers, Haynes said, “We are still very much in it.” They had to win two in two to qualify for the semifinals. Thunder did better. They won four on the trot and eventually crowned champions of the sixth edition of the Women’s Big Bash League.

Speaking after the final, Haynes said that they got on a roll towards the back end. “It just felt like something is going to happen. Even when we lost some of the games I knew what we were capable of,” she told the reporters on Saturday (November 28).

“I think it’s just about giving people confidence and making sure that they’re clear in mind, on what to do at different times. So yeah, I am just happy that we were able to do what we did tonight.”

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Thunder had chased against Hobart Hurricanes and Adelaide Strikers. In the semifinal against Brisbane Heat, the bowlers exhibited a magnificent turnaround to take them to the final. Clearly, they preferred chasing.

When Haynes lost the toss to Meg Lanning, she was surprised that the Melbourne Stars opted to bat. But she did not mind. “We lost the toss and got to bowl. Sometimes it’s nice when you get what you want. We were happy to bowl first,” she said.

Indeed, they were happy. Shabnim Ismail and Sammy-Jo Johnson ran through the Stars top-order with the new ball. Bowling in a partnership was something they had been working on. “We talked about it in the last few games that if we work in partnership during the power play, we can put the batters under pressure. It came out well with the result tonight,” Johnson said.

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Haynes said that Johnson and Ismail have been outstanding for the Thunder showing experience under pressure situations and reassuring the team. “It was tricky out there for the batters. In saying that, they didn’t give them much. I think that’s probably our best bowling performance for the season. It’s nice that they really brought it for such a big game,” she said.

Johnson and Ismail made the most of the conditions that were on offer. They dismissed Lanning, Elyse Villani and Mignon du Preez in the first six overs.

“If we didn’t hit our areas, obviously, we could have been in a little bit of trouble. But I think, myself, Shab and Batty upfront set up the tone, and it’s just really really good,” Johnson said.

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Thunder skipper Haynes believes that playing under pressure brought the best out of them like in the last few games of the tournament. “I think we played some of our best cricket when we were under pressure. It sort of really shown through throughout the season,” said the 33-year-old.

“It’s a funny game, cricket. Particularly this format, it brings the teams to close together and sometimes it takes a couple of moments to change the momentum.”

Haynes was there with the Thunder when they emerged victorious in the first season. Six years later, she has led a team filled with young talents to become the champions again.

She said that it feels special to achieve what they have done, adding, “I think we probably came into both of those tournaments as underdogs, didn’t have high expectations of us coming into both of the seasons. ”

“We showed a lot of character throughout the year. It’s exciting to think where this group can get to over the next couple of years,” she concluded.