Allround Sydney Thunder too good for Melbourne Stars
Sydney Thunder lifted their second Women’s Big Bash League title in a comprehensive display where they romped to an easy seven wicket win over Melbourne Stars at the North Sydney Oval on Saturday ( November 28).
Thunder, inaugural winners of WBBL, overhauled the meagre target of 87 set by Stars with plenty of overs to spare after their bowlers restricted the table toppers to 86 for 9 from 20 overs with an incredible display of swing bowling. Stars could never recover from the damage the Thunder bowlers caused early on.
Chasing only 87 to win, Thunder openers looked to be aggressive from the start. Rachel Trenaman punished Katherine Brunt for two boundaries in the second over with the England pacer straying in line. Tammy Beaumont launched Natalie Sciver over mid-wicket for a six in the next over and then smashed Alana King for a boundary through mid-off.
Brunt came back in the next over and got one to nip back at Beaumont to trap her in front for 16. Trenaman played a few glorious drives through the off-side in her knock of 23 before she mis-timed one drive to backward-point.
Although they soon lost Sammy-Jo Johnson, the experienced duo of Heather Knight and Rachael Haynes hit a flurry of boundaries in their partnership of 33 runs from 22 balls. Haynes first lofted Erin Osborne over long-on for six before smashing her for a four straight down the ground. Knight brought up Thunder’s win in style with a huge six over long-off to take them their second WBBL triumph.
Earlier, Stars found themselves at sea after opting to bat with the Thunder opening bowlers Shabnim Ismail and Johnson getting the ball to move. Thunder could have had an immediate reward for their efforts but Meg Lanning was dropped by Beaumont in the first over off Ismail.
However, Thunder didn’t have to wait long and Ismail struck in the third over removing Elyse Villani for a solitary run when she had the right hander mistiming a drive to cover. Although Lanning managed to hit a four and a six in the power play she lost in-form Mignon du Preez when Johnson trapped the South African in front with a delivery that swung late. Stars were 20 for 2 at the end of power play.
Soon, Stars found themselves in deeper trouble with Johnson finally managing to get Lanning to edge one behind the wicket. Sciver and Annabel Sutherland tried to resurrect the innings with some help from the Thunder fielders. But the fielding lapses didn’t cost the Sydney side much with Sciver getting caught at extra cover off Samantha Bates. In the next over, King slog swept Heather Knight straight to mid-wicket boundary making Stars reel at 36 for 5 in the 11th over.
Meanwhile, Sutherland looked to take the attack to the bowlers smashing Lauren Smith for a huge six over long-on and then following it up with a four over cover. But the young allrounder perished when she tried to go for one shot too many and was caught at mid-wicket in the next ball for 20.
Once Sutherland was dismissed, Stars bottom-order lacked the fire power to take the score over three figures and they stumbled and stuttered to a paltry score of 86 for 9 in their 20 overs. Brunt top-scored for the stars with a 27-ball 22 not out.
For Thunder, Johnson was the most successful bowler with figures of 2 for 11 while Ismail finished with figures of 2 for 12.
Brief Scores: Melbourne Stars 86/9 in 20 overs (Katherine Brunt 22*, Annabel Sutherland 20; Sammy-Jo Johnson 2/11, Shabnim Ismail 2/12) lost to Sydney Thunder 87/3 in 13.4 overs (Heather Knight 26*, Rachel Trenaman 23, Tess Flintoff 1/6) by seven wickets. PoTM: Shabnim Ismail