Batters make merry yet again at Karen Rolton Oval as Heat, Strikers register wins
(L to R) Laura Wolvaardt, Grace Harris, Dane van Niekerk, Ashleigh Gardner © Getty Images
Batters yet again dominated the day’s play in the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) on Tuesday (November 9). Grace Harris trumped Ashleigh Gardner’s blistering knock of 86 for Sydney Sixers to take Brisbane Heat to a win at the Karen Rolton Oval in Adelaide. South African duo of Dane van Niekerk and Laura Wolvaardt led Adelaide Strikers to a much-needed win despite some late hitting by Issy Wong for Sydney Thunder.
Sixers opted to bat first and continued with the experienced opening pair of Alyssa Healy and Ellyse Perry. Uncharacteristically for the side in Magenta, Perry was the aggressor early as Heat were able to restrict Healy in the power play. Perry was given reprieves twice with a dropped catch and a missed run-out opportunity but it didn’t cost the bowling side much as she was caught at gully by Laura Kimmince off Georgia Prestwidge.
Gardner, who found some form with the bat against Hobart Hurricanes, joined Healy inside the power play. She brought up the team’s 50 with a towering six over Poonam Yadav’s head to relieve the dot ball pressure. Healy’s frustrating stay at the crease was ended by a sharp catch from Georgia Voll, giving Nicola Hancock her 50th WBBL wicket.
Nicole Bolton joined Gardner at four with Sixers struggling at 72 for two in the 12th over and the pair steadily started accelerating. Gardner scored her second half-century of the season from 37 balls. Left-hander Bolton supported her well with six boundaries of her own. The pair added 65 runs in the last five overs; courtesy of four massive sixes from Gardner to finish on 159 for two.
Heat got off to a great start in the chase as they collected 18 runs from the opening two overs. Perry introduced Stella Campbell and then herself to halt the flow of runs. It worked for a bit, but 18 runs from the final over of the power play propelled Heat to 51 for none. Immediately after the power play, Gardner’s sharp throw from cover broke the promising partnership.
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It paired rampant Harris with Voll, and she continued to dominate the Sixers' bowling attack all over the park. Gardner faced the taste of her own medicine when Harris creamed a six over long-on and reached her 50 with a lovely sweep off Radha Yadav. Harris’ run-fest was halted midway when Bolton took a diving catch in the deep to send her back to the pavilion.
Laura Kimmince, batting at four, took charge of the chase by hitting 15 runs from Gardner’s second over. The 18-year-old Voll showed her class with the bat as she score unbeaten 48 off 41 balls. Voll and Kimmince added 62 runs to lead Heat to a convincing victory with eight wickets in hand. Heat continue to be at the second position in the points table just behind Melbourne Renegades.
In the second match of the day at their home ground, Strikers won the toss and opted to bat first. After facing 11 consecutive dot balls first up, Katie Mack scored a run off Samantha Bates to get the innings going. Thunder could not use the early dot ball pressure to make any inroads as Strikers scored 29 off the power play without losing any wickets.
Van Niekerk found her rhythm after the power play as she welcomed Deepti Sharma with two consecutive boundaries. Sammy-Jo Johnson’s variations were also ineffective against the pair as they brought up the 50-run partnership in the 9th over. Mack was bowled by Lauren Smith after she hit a six over deep mid-wicket That didn’t affect van Niekerk much as she hit three sixes in the very next over bowled by Sharma to bring up her second half-century of the season.
Post this, Bates, captain Hannah Darlington, and Smith tried to put some pressure on van Niekerk and Wolvaardt, which resulted with the wicket of van Niekerk. Once she was departed, Wolvaardt took over the hitting duties from and hit miserly Bates for 18 run in an over. Strikers notched up 176 runs from the stipulated 20 overs.
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Thunder, positioned last in the points table, needed a strong start in the pursuit of the mammoth total but they lost Smriti Mandhana in the second over as Sarah Coyte took an easy catch off Jemma Barsby. Opener Tahlia Wilson and Phoebe Litchfield tried to revive the Thunder innings with patient batting inside the power play.
The pair added 73 runs to the second wicket before Litchfield was caught by Bridget Patterson for 40. After that blow, Johnson and Wilson fell immediately leaving Thunder to score 81 runs from the last 30 balls. Wong, then clobbered van Niekerk all over the Oval with three back-to-back sixes giving them some late hope. The Wong Show continued as she hit Megan Schutt for two more sixes in the pacer's final over.
Wong was eventually bowled by Amanda-Jade Wellington in the penultimate over for 43 off just 17 balls. Thunder fell short of the target by 18 runs with Tahlia McGrath sending her counterpart Darlington back for just one run in the final over.
Sydney Sixers 159/2 in 20 overs (Ashleigh Gardner 86*, Nicole Bolton 38*; Georgia Prestwidge 1/23) lost to Brisbane Heat 162/2 in 18.3 overs (Grace Harris 54, Georgia Voll 48*; Radha Yadav 1/33) by eight wickets
Adelaide Strikers 176/4 in 20 overs (Dane van Niekerk 58, Laura Wolvaardt 54; Sammy-Jo Johnson 2/25) beat Syndey Thunder 158/6 in 20 overs (Issy Wong 43, Tahlia Wilson 42; Tahlia McGrath 2/20) by 18 runs