Belligerent Healy seals it for Sixers on opening day of WBBL07

Alyssa Healy © Getty Images

Alyssa Healy went berserk against Melbourne Stars in the opening game of the seventh edition of the Women’s Big Bash League, helping Sydney Sixers start their campaign with a six-wicket win in a rain-affected encounter on Thursday (October 14).

Chasing almost nine runs per over in an 11-over match, Healy sliced Tess Flintoff over point for a boundary in the very second delivery. The latter came back strong, giving away just three more runs in the rest of the over. 

Shafali Verma was tested by Flintoff and Kim Garth early in the innings, swinging the ball away from the right-hander. The 17-year-old walked down the ground and flicked Garth between midwicket and mid-on to get her first boundary. Healy continued her onslaught, tonking Flintoff for four consecutive boundaries – three down the ground and one inside-out over cover. Sixers scored 19 runs in the third over, finishing the power play at 33 for nil.

Brought in to break the partnership, Annabel Sutherland delivered with the wicket of Verma. After a sharp bouncer, the allrounder castled the stumps with a good length delivery shaping into the opener. Healy kept the Sixers in the chase with occasional boundaries, while Ashleigh Gardner was struggling at the other end. When Sutherland came back for her second over, Healy did it again, hitting four boundaries in an over, and getting to her half-century in 24 balls. 

Gardner fell to Garth in the next over, bringing Ellyse Perry to the middle. With 12 runs required from 14 balls, Healy got out to Sophie Day for 57 runs from 27 balls. The left-arm spinner conceded only five runs in the 18th over, keeping the equation to 11 runs from 12 balls. Rhys McKenna dismissed Perry, but Nicole Bolton held her nerve to take Sixers across the line. Garth was the pick of the bowlers, taking one for 16 in her three overs. 

Earlier, after being put in to bat first, Stars got off to a flying start, thanks to Elyse Villani and her new opening partner Sutherland. The former brought up her first boundary with a reverse sweep in the very first over. Sutherland, too, joined the party as she picked up a boundary off Stella Campbell. Radha Yadav, bowling her first over of the WBBL, struggled to find her line and length. The Stars 28 runs in the first three overs before the field spread out. 

When Perry came on to bowl, Villani made a bit of room for herself, smashing the allrounder through extra-cover. Perry bowled a high full-toss, which was sent over the cover fielder by Villani. However, Sixers got their first breakthrough as Verma caught Sutherland short at the non-striker’s end with a direct hit. 

Meg Lanning got her innings going with a trademark punch through cover-point against Maitlan Brown. She followed it up with a square-cut and pull-shot off Campbel, ending the over with 13 runs. At the other end, Villani took the attack to Perry. She smashed two fours and three sixes in an over, bringing up her 22nd WBBL fifty in just 29 balls. The Stars finished with 99 for one in 11 overs. Villani scored 54 runs from 31 balls. 

Brief Scores: Melbourne Stars 99/1 in 11 overs (Elyse Villani 54*; Maitlan Brown 14/0) lost to Sydney Sixers  100/4 in  10.2 overs (Alyssa Healy 57; Kim Garth 1/16) by six wickets. POTM: Alyssa Healy