Kim Garth trounces Thunder; Brisbane Heat move to top of points table

Kim Garth and Grace Harris © Getty Images

Bowlers controlled most of the proceedings in the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) on Tuesday (October 26) after some heavy-hitting performance from the batters over the weekend. Melbourne Stars and Brisbane Heat registered comprehensive victories at the University of Tasmania Stadium in Launceston. Issy Wong, Kim Garth, Courtney Sippel were the picks of the bowlers for their respective sides

Defending the small total of 108, Stars needed a good start with the ball. Garth was on the money in the very first over as she dismissed Tahlia Wilson and Phoebe Litchfield. The other opener Smriti Mandhana was cramped for room as she played out a maiden against Garth. Annabel Sutherland took advantage of the dot ball pressure and forced an attacking shot from Mandhana, which resulted in her downfall.

Garth bowled three overs on the trot without conceding a single run in the power play to put Thunder on the backfoot. Their Indian recruit Deepti Sharma tried to steady the chase with Anika Learoyd. The pair could only add 42 runs in the next 10 overs as Stars’ bowlers made most of the slow pitch.

Hannah Darlington, batting at six, tried to hit some aggressive shots, but it was too little too late. Deepti Sharma remained unbeaten on 44 as Stars secured their third win of the competition. Garth finished with three wickets for just 11 runs, registering her best figures in the competition.

Earlier, Stars captain Meg Lanning shocked many when she won the bat-flip and decided to bat first. Wong threatened the batters from the very first ball and troubled them with the consistent movement she got. Lanning’s horror run with the bat continued as she tried to chase a wide one only to be caught at backward-point by Mandhana.

Elyse Villani, who struggled against the off-spinners throughout the tournament, patiently dealt with that threat early in the innings. She found a partner in Maia Bouchier and the pair shared a valuable 63-run partnership. The 22-year-old Bouchier perished on 31, trying to accelerate the scoring rate. Darlington rotated her bowlers well to restrict Stars to 108 for seven in 20 overs.

In the second match, Sippel’s double-wicket first over rocked Hurricanes early against Heat. Nicola Carey was promoted to four, but Laura Kimmince took a blinder to send her back in the very next over. Sasha Moloney failed to connect a sweep against Jess Jonassen and Hurricanes were reduced to 33 for four in the power play.

18-year-old Ruth Johnston was left stranded by the experienced players in the top order. She put out a valiant partnership with Richa Ghosh to take Hurricanes past 50. Naomi Stalenberg, who walked in after Ghosh, didn’t last for long either as she became the 100th WBBL scalp of Jonassen.

Johnston missed out on her half-century by just three runs. Some late hitting by Molly Strano and Tayla Vlaeminck took Hurricanes to 132 for 8 in 20 overs as Sippel finished with three wickets.

Heat got off to a great start as openers Grace Harris and Georgia Redmayne scored 44 runs in the power play without losing any wicket. Vlaminck and Chloe Rafferty were on the firing line as they went for combined figures of 28 runs in just three overs. Hurricanes captain Rachel Priest had to leave the field early due to a finger injury and Strano took over captaincy duties from there with Ghosh donning the gloves.

Nicola Carey tried to shift the momentum in Hurricanes’ favour by taking two wickets in her first over, but Harris teamed up with Mikayla Hinkley to keep the bowlers at bay. Harris and Hinkley added 86 runs for the fourth wicket – their partnership included ten fours and three sixers – to put the chase firmly back on track. They remained unbeaten as Hinkley sealed the match with a towering six off Strano.

Brief Scores:

Melbourne Stars 108/7 in 20 overs (Elyse Villani 52, Maia Bouchier 31; Issy Wong 2/19) beat Sydney Thunder 96/5 in 20 overs (Deepti Sharma 44*, Anika Learoyd 21; Kim Garth 3/11) by 12 runs. POTM:  Kim Garth

Hobart Hurricanes 132/8 in 20 overs (Ruth Johnston 47, Molly Strano 33; Courtney Sippel 3/25) lost to Brisbane Heat 138/2 in 18.3 overs (Grace Harris 57*, Mikayla Hinkley 49*; Nicola Carey 2/16) by 8 wickets POTM: Grace Harris

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