Darcie Brown, Megan Schutt shine as Adelaide Strikers march into WBBL07 final
Darcie Brown, Megan Schutt © Getty Images
Some magnificent fast bowling from Megan Schutt and Darcie Brown combined with a bizarre approach from Melbourne Renegades top-order induced an early collapse from which Sophie Molineux' team never recovered. They lost to Adelaide Strikers by nine wickets in the Challenger match of the Women's Big Bash League on Thursday (November 25).
There were signs early on. Schutt sent the message on the very first delivery. A perfect inswinger went through the gap between the pads and the bat of Josephine Dooley. It was the first sign. But, the Renegades batters did not realise it.
They still tried to go after Brown in the next over as Carly Leeson swatted a back-of-length delivery down the ground, only to find Amanda-Jade Wellington at mid-on. This was the second sign, and yet Jemimah Rodrigues launched a counterattack on Schutt.
She smashed the veteran seamer for three fours in four deliveries - a couple of square cuts on either side of the point fielder followed by a loft down the ground. Renegades amassed 14 runs off that over. With Harmanpreet Kaur at the other end, Rodrigues could have taken some time from thereon to play out the pace duo before capitalising on the spinners. But they didn't.
Rodrigues played an upper cut off Brown straight into the hands of Laura Wolvaardt at the third-man region. Renegades had scored 24 runs after three overs, but after losing four wickets. And, that is when they realised the mistake.
Strikers' strength lies in the early wickets from the pacers, and if the Renegades had played with a little bit of caution early on, they could have been in a much better position. Kaur and Jess Duffin tried to compensate, but it was too late. From there, it was much more difficult to revive the innings. In the next three overs, they added just three runs.
When Wellington came on to the attack, Kaur played her safe, but Duffin tried to hit over mid-on and was out for two runs from 11 balls. Kaur's nemesis - front-foot plant across the line - came back to bite her as Tahlia McGrath trapped the player of the tournament on the pads in the next over.
Courtney Webb got run out without facing a ball at the non-striker's end. Soon, Evelyn Jones, too, was back in the pavilion, thanks to a direct hit from Sarah Coyte that reduced the Renegades to 47 for seven. Holly Ferling and Ella Hayward helped the Renegades scarp their way to 83 for eight in 20 overs. The former made 11 runs from ten balls while Hayward scored a 23-ball 18.
In reply, Katie Mack and Dane van Niekerk wasted no time to go all guns blazing against Sophie Molineux and Holly Ferling in the power play. In the third over, the duo smashed three boundaries off the Renegades skipper, taking their team to 30 for nil after 18 overs. Almost every over, they managed to secure at least one boundary.
While keeping it moving with singles and doubles for a while after the power play, van Niekerk slog-swept Webb behind square for a massive six. Though she got out soon for a 30-ball 43 to Leeson, Mack and Wolvaardt saw through the case with ease in 10.5 overs. Adelaide Strikers will take on Perth Scorchers in the final on Saturday (November 27).
Melbourne Renegades 83/8 in 20 overs (Ella Hayward 18; Darcie Brown 2/9) lost to Adelaide Strikers 86/1 in 10.5 overs (Dane van Niekerk 43; Carly Leeson 5/1) by 9 wickets. POTM: Darcie Brown.