Pace bowlers shine to help Strikers, Heat register crucial wins
(From L to R) Darcie Brown, Tayla Vlaeminck, Courtney Sippel, Lauren Cheatle © Getty Images
After days of sensational batting display at the Karen Rolton Oval in Adelaide, bowlers shined on Saturday (November 13) as Adelaide Strikers and Brisbane Heat moved one step closer towards a spot in the knockouts. Hobart Hurricanes were blown away by the pitch-perfect bowling performance from Strikers headed by Darcie Brown. In the second match, Sydney Sixers could only delay the inevitable as Heat won by three wickets at the Great Barrier Reef Arena in Mackay. These results meant Melbourne Renegades will become the first side to qualify for the knockouts in the seventh edition of WBBL.
Strikers were invited to bat first by Hurricanes and Tayla Vlaeminck’s fiery opening spell held them back in the power play. Vlaeminck bowled Strikers opener Katie Mack in the first over. She finished her first spell of three overs conceding only eight runs. South African duo of Dane van Niekerk and Laura Wolvaardt were watchful against the right-arm pacer and could score 23 runs in the first five overs.
Wolvaardt freed her arms against Nicola Carey scoring 12 runs off the final over of the power play. The pair added 47 runs for the second wicket before the 22-year-old Wolvaardt was caught behind by Rachel Priest off Molly Strano. Hurricanes were not able to keep a lid on the aggression from Strikers as van Niekerk continued with her batting form. The 16-year-old Amy Smith took a sharp catch at point to deny the allrounder a half-century.
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Tahlia McGrath and Bridget Patterson scored 50 runs off the last five overs to take Strikers past the 140 mark from their 20 overs. Apart from Vlaeminck’s opening spell none of the Hurricanes bowlers could contain the opposition batters. Carey did get the wicket of Patterson with the last ball of the innings, but she was expensive conceding 43 runs from her four overs.
In reply, Hurricanes needed a solid contribution from their top order but they had to face the inswing of Megan Schutt and the pace of Darcie in the power play. Rampant Darcie stuck with her fourth ball of the match with the ever-reliable Patterson completing a catch diving forward at the point to see the back of Naomi Stalenberg. Darcie got lucky with the wicket of Priest, who was caught while trying to hit a juicy full toss over at mid-on’s head.
Mignon du Preez was dropped by McGrath in the eigth over only to be dismissed n the very next over off the Strikers skipper. Wicket of du Preez led to a collapse as Hurricanes lost five wickets for just 26 runs. Amanda-Jade Wellington struck twice in her third over and ended the fighting knock of Vlaeminck. Hurricanes couldn’t find a single meaningful partnership and they were bowled out for 94 in the penultimate over.
In the second match, playing on their home turf for the first time this season, Heat won the bat flip and decided to field first. That decision paid off immediately as Courtney Sippel struck twice in her first over sending Alyssa Healy and Ashleigh Gardner before they could do any damage. Jess Jonassen rolled up her sleeves to get rid of her counterpart Ellyse Perry for just two inside the power play.
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From the precarious position of 23 for three at the end of the power play, Nicole Bolton and Shafali Verma tried to revive Sixers innings. Verma started with her trademark aggression, which resulted in her downfall as she was caught by Grace Harris off Poonam Yadav. A spectacular diving catch by Mikayla Hinkley ended the fighting knock of Nicole Bolton, who was the top run-scorer of the Sixers innings with her 25.
Sixers struggled throughout the innings and could only score 91 runs with the loss of seven wickets from the stipulated 20 overs. Jonassen took three wickets giving away only 15 runs from her four overs. Sippel finished her economical spell with two wickets and a maiden.
In the chase, Heat were rocked early with Lauren Cheatle trapping hard-hitting Harris in front of the wicket for a golden duck. Perry continued the pace option in the power play which resulted in two more wickets for the left-arm pacer in her third over. Sixers tightened the screws by sending South African Anneke Bosch back for just one. Bosch became Maitlan Brown's 50th WBBL wicket as Heat found themselves struggling at 37 for four.
Jonassen then partnered with Hinkley to keep Heat afloat as the pair added 23 runs for the fifth wicket. They needed only 32 runs from the last 10 overs but the task got even more tricky when Jonassen was caught by Bolton at point. Laura Kimmince relieved the pressure with some aggressive shots and was given a lifeline in the 12th over as she was caught by Verma off a no-ball bowled by Perry.
Kimmince hit Stella Campbell for a six but she was trapped in front of the very next ball trying to execute a sweep. That didn’t cost the home side much as they cruised to a three-wicket victory with 35 balls remaining.
Adelaide Strikers 142/4 in 20 overs (Dane van Niekerk 44, Tahlia Mcgrath 38*; Molly Strano 2/23) beat Hobart Hurricanes 94 all out in 18.2 overs (Mignon du Preez 21, Tayla Vlaeminck 17; Darcie Brown 3/19) by 48 runs
Sydney Sixers 91/7 in 20 overs (Nicole Bolton 25, Radha Yadav 17; Jess Jonassen 3/15) lost to Brisbane Heat 92/7 in 14.1 overs (Georgia Redmayne 19, Laura Kimmince 16; Lauren Cheatle 3/16) by three wickets