Sydney Sixers v Adelaide Strikers
Sarah Coyte’s three-for and Tahlia McGrath’s 2 for 19 and a 35-ball 30 amplified Sydney Sixers‘ chances of missing out on a place in the WBBL semi-finals for the first time in history of the tournament as the Adelaide Strikers chased the paltry target of 94 down with 29 balls to spare.
In the injury-enforced absence of regular captain Ellyse Perry, Alyssa Healy opted to bat in the first of the two must-win weekend fixtures against the Strikers. But it didn’t pay off at Hurstville Oval as Healy and No. 3 Ashleigh Gardner fell inside three overs to Megan Schutt, who finished with 2 for 12.
The Sixers never recovered from the early wobble as Coyte and McGrath dented the middle and lower-middle order with regular strikes, Coyte returning an outstanding 3 for 9 – with a maiden – off her full allocation. Marizanne Kapp top-scored with 20 while Dane van Niekerk made 19, but their efforts could only help the Sixers to 93 for 9.
Strikers opener Suzie Bates’ dismissal in the first over, courtesy Kapp, raised hopes of a fightback. However, a 72-run stand between McGrath and Sophie Devine – the latter making 46 not-out on her way to becoming the first overseas player to 2000 WBBL runs – steered Strikers to their tenth win of the season – and the top of the table – in only 15.1 overs.
Melbourne Stars v Melbourne Renegades
Jess Duffin continued to carry the Melbourne Renegades on her shoulders as they pushed for a place in the semi-finals with a superbly-paced chase against the Melbourne Stars to win by six wickets with a ball to spare. Duffin struck 76 off 57 balls after coming in at 2 for 11 in the second over, initially steadying the innings with Tammy Beaumont before adding 81 in 10 overs with Courtney Webb (30). Georgia Wareham then played a vital cameo in a tense finish with eight need off the last over. The Stars had fallen away after a tremendous opening stand of 118 in 13 overs between Elyse Villani (45) and Lizelle Lee (70). That pair departed in the space of three deliveries and the Stars could only add 44 in the remainder of the innings, 20 of those coming off the last over.
Perth Scorchers v Hobart Hurricanes
Erin Fazackerley’s first half-century of the season set up Hobart Hurricanes‘ emphatic six-wicket win over the Perth Scorchers. Hurricanes’ successful chase of 108 gave them only their fourth win of the tournament, but pegged back the third-placed Scorchers on their path to consolidating their position in the top two, heading into the final day of the league stage.
The Hurricanes attack bowled the Scorchers out for a meagre 107 after opting to field at the Lilac Hill Park. Tayla Vlaeminck accounted for openers Amy Jones and Meg Lanning with two outstanding inswingers inside the Powerplay. Medium-pacers Belinda Vakarewa and Nicola Carey and wristspinner Maisy Gibson then combined to take five wickets between them, bowling the opposition out off the last ball of the 20th over.
Opening the innings for the Hurricanes, 21-year-old Fazackerley anchored the chase, hitting five fours and two sixes in a 48-ball 58 – the second half-century in her WBBL career. Although medium-pacer Taneale Peschel’s double-wicket second over – she was on a hat-trick when Fran Wilson was on strike – caused a scare early in the chase, captain Corine Hall and South Africa allrounder Chloe Tryon – the latter hitting a six for the winning runs – ensured the Hurricanes overhauled the chase in 15.4 overs, six balls after Fazackerley fell.
The final set of league games will be played on Sunday, with the Sixers and the Melbourne Renegades vying for the fourth and final berth in the knockouts. The Strikers, Scorchers, and Brisbane Heat are already through.
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