Villani-Lanning star again as Victoria down NSW Breakers in WNCL
“When my career does come to an end one day, I know I’m going to look back on it really fondly because it’s such a huge honour to be thought of by all the girls,” Elyse Villani had said after being adjudged the Female Domestic Cricketer of the Year at the Cricket Australia Awards last week. Little did the opposition teams know what was in store in this year’s Women’s National Cricket League (WNCL).
New South Wales Breakers have been the first to bear the brunt of Villani’s onslaught – not once but twice in three days – as the right-handed batter’s superb run of form coupled with Meg Lanning’s second successive half century helped Victoria seal yet another big win in the competition at the Junction Oval in Melbourne on Friday (February 12).
Set a mere 207 to win, Victoria lost Sophie Molineux early for just two runs off 26 balls. Lauren Cheatle, whose disciplined bowling meant Victoria began slowly, had managed to get her caught at slip. She was into her fifth over and had given away just five runs at that point with the opposition one down for 18 in the ninth over.
Lanning then walked in and had a nervy couple of balls – surviving a close LBW call first before an inside edge took the ball just past the off stump to the fine leg fence. But then, she and Villani got the scorecard moving, hitting as many as five fours in the next six overs to increase the scoring rate. With each passing over, the task to separate the pair only got tougher for Breakers.
Villani then crossed the fifty-run mark for the second time in two matches against Breakers with a six over long off off Lauren Smith. She then cut the young off-spinner for another boundary in the over before Lanning doled out a similar treatment to Smith an over later.
The Victoria captain’s fifty took 67 balls coming and it was in a streaky way, as the ball took the inside edge and raced away to the fence. But soon, a direct hit from covers by Smith found Villani short of the crease and she walked back for 80. While Villani and Lanning added 119 in their first game, their stand was worth 129 in the second clash.
Lanning then added an unconquered 60 with Ellyse Perry (19 not out) to finish unbeaten on 91, sealing an eight-wicket win for Victoria.
Earlier, having put in to bat, Alyssa Healy and Rachael Haynes got Breakers to a quick start yet again, adding 53 for the opening wicket. Molineux (1 for 26), who picked four wickets three days ago, dismissed Haynes for 15. Kim Garth then added a couple of more wickets to her tally, dismissing Tahlia Wilson and later Hannah Darlington for ducks.
A 60-run association between Healy and Ashleigh Gardner for the third wicket saw Breakers recover from a couple of quick jolts. The wicketkeeper-batter hit as many as ten fours and a six in her knock of 65 off 71 balls, before falling to Annabel Sutherland. It followed Gardner’s wicket off Georgia Wareham for 31 just an over earlier. Erin Burns (27) first and Sammy-Jo Johnson later helped Breakers cross the 200-run mark but it still wasn’t a score worthy of troubling the on-song Victorians.
Sutherland returned three wickets for them while each of Garth, Wareham and Molly Strano had two-fers to show.
Brief Scores: New South Wales Breakers 206 all out in 49 overs (Alyssa Healy 65; Annabel Sutherland 3/45) lost to Victoria 207/2 in 44.5 overs (Meg Lanning 91*, Elyse Villani 80) by eight wickets.