Mooney, Devine shine for the Scorchers; Gardner finds form with bat for Sixers
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Beth Mooney, Sophie Devine, and Ashleigh Gardner lit up the iconic WACA ground in Perth with their sensational batting performance on Wednesday (November 3) as Sydney Sixers and Perth Scorchers registered wins in the seventh edition of Women's Big Bash League (WBBL).
Hobart Hurricanes invited Sixers to bat first and it seemed like a good decision when they removed dangerous Alyssa Healy in the very first over. Nicola Carey took a simple catch at point off Tayla Vlamick and out of form Gardner, at three, found herself at the crease early. The allrounder hit a beautiful cover drive off Belinda Vakarewa to kick off her innings. Wayward Vlaeminck was punished for 16 runs in an over as Sixers ended the power play at 40 for one.
The introduction of the medium pace of Carey did not stop Gardner as she continued to play her shots. Perry, on her 31st birthday, played the role of an anchor throughout the middle overs as Gardner reached her ninth WBBL half-century. The joy of the 100-run partnership between Gardner and Perry didn’t last long as the former was immediately caught by Vakarewa off Johnston in the 16th over.
Perry missed out on a well-composed half-century when she was trapped in front by Carey. Nicole Bolton inspired late-hitting led Sixers to 141 for four in their 20 overs. For Hurricanes, Vlaeminck and Johnston were economical and took one wicket apiece.
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Hurricanes’ chase started on shaky grounds as they lost Johnston in the second over with Shafali Verma taking a sharp catch at mid-wicket. Their captain Rachel Priest started well against Perry by hitting two short and wide balls for boundaries. South African import Mignon du Preez couldn’t repeat her heroics from the earlier matches with Maitlan Brown accounting for her.
From 30 for two by the end of the power play, Carey and Priest tried to rebuild the innings but they were dismissed by Radha Yadav and Perry respectively. Bolton, who took a diving catch at mid-wicket to send Priest packing, broke the back of the Hurricanes’ chase by ending the promising knocks of Naomi Stalenberg and Richa Ghosh.
Molly Strano tried to score the runs with some extravagant shots, but the asking rate was beyond the reach for Hurricanes at that time. Brown ended her economical spell with the wicket of Sasha Maloney and Hurricanes could only score 110 for seven, falling short by 31 runs.
In the second match of the day, Devine and Mooney started the innings with their characteristic aggressive partnership. Mooney hit Renegades’ captain Sophie Molineux for a sublime late-cut to commence her innings. Renegades approach to use only spinners in the power play backfired as the Scorchers duo collected 51 runs from just five overs.
Molineux handed the ball to pacer Ellie Falconer for the final over of the power play but it played little dividend as Scorchers added 12 runs from sixth over to end it on 63 for no loss. The pair of Devine and Mooney found the rope consistently during their partnership of 165 runs and they were also helped by some sloppy fielding from Renegades.
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Webb was finally able to break the partnership in the 17th over as Devine was caught by Ella Hayward for a well-made 49-ball 72. On the penultimate ball of the innings, Mooney advanced and hit Molineux for a four towards long-on to reach her second WBBL century. Table topper Renegades were clueless against Mooney throughout her knock as Scorchers finished on their highest-ever total in the WBBL.
In reply, Renegades needed a strong start but off-spinner Lily Mills dismissed openers, Josephine Dooley and Jemimah Rodrigues in three balls to put pressure on their middle order. Harmanpreet Kaur, who led Renegades to a stunning victory against Adelaide Strikers, and Webb put a steady partnership of 40 runs for the third wicket, but the ever-reliable Alana King trapped Kaur before she could truly free her arms.
Webb tried to revitalize the Renegades innings with a handy knock of 46 off just 34 balls, including five fours and a massive six-off Mills. Once she was caught by King off Mills in the 15th over, Renegades didn't have the power to chase down the mammoth total. Molineux, batting at six, hit 31 off just 18 balls towards the end of the innings, it was not sufficient to cross the line for Renegades.
Sydney Sixers: 141/4 in 20 overs (Ashleigh Gardner 51, Ellyse Perry 47; Tayla Vlaeminck 1/22) beat Hobart Hurricanes 110/7 in 20 overs (Rachel Priest 27, Molly Strano 22; Maitlan Brown 2/15) by 31 runs
Perth Scorchers: 194/2 in 20 overs (Beth Mooney 101*, Sophie Devine 72; Harmanpreet Kaur 1/32) beat Melbourne Renegades 154/6 in 20 overs (Courtney Webb 46, Sophie Molineux 31*; Lily Mills 4/25) by 40 runs