Devine scorches Thunder as Strikers lose “unbeaten” tag.

After a rather damp weekend in Launceston five of the eight teams are tied at the top of the table on five points, with Brisbane Heat heading the standings due to a superior NRR.

All of Saturday’s four games fell foul of the weather, and it was only due to an exceptional effort by the groundstaff, that all three of Sunday’s games were completed. 

The first was restricted to just 11 overs a side due to initial damp conditions, played between Heat v Strikers. The shortened game favoured Heat’s big strikers, who hit an impressive 104/5 off their 66 balls, despite a hat-trick from Darcie Brown halfway through Heat’s innings. Georgias Voll (31*) and Redmayne (28) hit most of Heat’s runs. In response Strikers seemed to have matters under control through Wolvaardt (54) and van Niekerk (24), who put on 68 for the first wicket, but DvN had chewed up 22 balls for her 24, which meant they only had 68 off 53 balls when she was given out lbw. An initial RRR of 9.54 had gone up to over 12, and that became 15.50 as new bat Maddy Penna struggled. When Wolvaardt fell in the 10th over the game was up for Strikers, as was their unbeaten tag. Heat won by 5 runs.

Having said Sydney Sixers could not bat as badly again as they did against Stars, they did just that against Renegades! Shafali Verma got out first ball; Ash Gardner managed to edge a wide long hop to the keeper; and Alyssa Healy hit another Kaur long hop straight back to her. Sixers were 12/3! It mean that Ellyse Perry (50*) and Nicole Bolton (38) batted like it was a Test Match for 7 overs. At the end of the 11th over Sixers were 41/3 with Perry on 9 off 25 balls and Bolton on 17 off 21 balls. 13 runs off the next over suggested a shift in the gears, but it was a false dawn as Strikers’ innings limped to 118/4 with Perry still there at the end, having scored 29 off her last 21 balls. After a positive powerplay from Renegades (44/1) it was a walk in the park for the team in red. Sixers bowling looked innocuous, with Perry failing to give herself a single over. Harmanpreet Kaur put Sixers out of their misery with two 6s at the end of the 17th over. Sixers really are not in a good place at the moment.

The final game went according to plan with Sophie Devine smashing the young Thunder bowlers for a 58 ball century, as Scorchers notched up 186/2. It was Devine’s third WBBL century and she looked in fine touch. Thunder struggled to 105/9 in reply with Phoebe Litchfield top-scoring with 24. 

This week’s mid-week games are :-

Stars, Canes and Thunder will be desperate to get something out of their two games, with just two wins from eleven games so far between them. Stars play both their rivals, so have the most to gain. Can their batting strength compensate for their bowling weakness? Two wins could rocket them to the top of the table by Wednesday night.

Canes will have to battle out their second game with the in-form Heat, who may well prove too strong for them with both bat and ball. Thunder face a buoyant Renegades in their second game. Could this be Smriti Mandhana’s opportunity to kick start her WBBL? If so then Thunder could pick up their first win. 

Martin Davies

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