Star-studded Melbourne were no match for Sydney in thunderous conditions in the Women’s Big Bash Final.
A seven wicket win was no less than Sydney Thunder deserved. From the opening ball they dominated.
Melbourne kept losing wickets despite Sydney dropping five catches. The Thunder’s sloppiness was easily made up for by their accurate bowling and sharp fielding.
Sydney went hard early in the run chase then settled in to ensure victory. A six from Heather Knight to seal the title was the icing on the cake.
1. Shabnim Ismail is a Star (really a Thunder)
Her legacy didn’t need any assurance but the 32-year-old South African legend showed she was a big game player with a player-of-the-match performance. With 191 games and 238 wickets for her country under her belt, Ismail will go down as one of the greats. Now she has a Big Bash title to add to her collection.
Tonight was a special performance. Her speed proved too much for the star struck Melbourne batters. The wicket of Meg Lanning delivered a fatal blow to the Stars.
An inspiration in every possible way, Ismail showed pace bowling has an important role to play in the hustle and bustle of T20 cricket.
2. Team work is the key to winning the big games
Sydney Thunder set up the game after keeping the star-studded Stars down to less than 100. Ismail and Johnson took two wickets each while Bates, Darlington, Smith and Knight all took one each. Haynes took four catches. There was a run out too. The ground fielding was decent despite the dropped catches.
Melbourne were simply no match for a team that pulled together when it counted.
3. Prime Time women’s sport is a hit
Despite the uneven contest and the limited capacity due to covid19, the fans that attended North Sydney Oval had a thoroughly enjoyable time.
Plenty of kids and families were in attendance and even the corporate types turned up. The bright lights of the ancient North Sydney Oval shone over a Saturday night that filled the sporting void that covid19 has created.
Tonight and the big bash overall gave sporting authorities plenty of food for thought. Prime Time exposure for women’s sport is a must. The appetite for it is there.
Provide the fans with good value entertainment at a decent price and they will flock to the game. TV audiences will thrive off the atmosphere at the game.
The athletes are entertainers. Give them a stage and they will fill perform. A weekend night game is the perfect way for women’s sport to connect with the fans.