Kaur’s carnage trumps marvelous Mandhana as Renegades beat Thunder
Smriti Mandhana’s first-ever hundred in the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) went in vain as Harmanpreet Kaur’s all-round performance carried Melbourne Renegades over the line by just four runs against Sydney Thunder at The Great Barrier Reef Arena in Mackay on Wednesday (November 17).
Thunder needed to chase down the mountain of 176 to register their fourth victory of the season. Mandhana showed her intent when she punched the first ball of the innings off the back foot for four against Ella Hayward. Mandhana dismantled Renegades’ ‘spin to win’ approach as Thunder scored 46 runs off the powerplay despite losing the wicket of Sammy-Jo Johnson.
Soon after the field restrictions ended, Hayward took a sensational diving catch at short fine leg off Rhiann O’Donnell to send Phoebe Litchfield back for just one. At that point, it looked like Thunder would go down an all too familiar path before Mandhana took matters into her own hands. Her half-century came off just 31 balls and at the halfway mark Thunder needed 100 runs off the last 10 overs.
While Tahlia Wilson struggled to hit the ball, Mandhana was flawless throughout her innings. The left-hander clobbered former Australian bowler Holly Ferling for 24 runs in the 18th over while bringing up her first-ever century in the WBBL off just 57 balls.
Thunder needed 13 runs in the final over to pull off the magnificent chase and Renegades captain Sophie Molineux handed the ball to experienced Kaur, who only conceded eight runs to seal the victory.
Earlier, after Thunder captain Hannah Darlington opted to bowl first, Samantha Bates immediately removed the dangerous Jemimah Rodriges for just two. Carly Leeson was caught by a diving Lauren Smith, who was playing her 100th WBBL match. From that wobbly start of 9 for 2 in just the second over, Renegades needed a steady partnership. Evelyn Jones and Kaur provided it as Renegades went through the powerplay without any more damage.
Kaur survived a close lbw shout as Darlington brought herself as soon as the power play was over. She took apart the Thunder bowling attack as she hit 14 runs off Deepti Sharma. Sammy-Jo Johnson’s next over went for 19 runs as both Jones and Kaur went on a counter-attack. Jones was eventually caught by Corinne Hall off Bates in the 14th over after the pair added 92 runs for the third wicket.
Kaur continued her red-hot form with the bat and brought up her third half-century of the season off just 38 balls with a towering six off Kate Peterson. Wong, who has been economical throughout this season, was then left speechless when Kaur hit her for three back-to-back fours. The duo scored 75 runs in the final seven overs to lead Renegades to a mammoth total of 175 for four.
With this win, Renegades consolidated their spot at the top of the table eliminating Thunder’s knockout hopes.
Brief Score: Melbourne Renegades 175/4 (Harmanpreet Kaur 81*, Evelyn Jones 42; Samantha Bates 2-21) beat Sydney Thunder 171/2 (Smriti Mandhana 114*, Tahlia Wilson 38*, Rihiann O’Donnell 1-25) by four runs. PotM: Smriti Mandhana