The opening round of the WBBL04 was a festival of cricket out at St Kilda.
STRIKERS V HEAT
The Strikers have cruised to a comfortable victory over the Heat after a strange run chase.
Adelaide’s innings started with plenty of urgency in the running between wickets, but that urgency ended up costing the Strikers their captain, who was run out by a Kirby Short direct hit in the second over.
Losing her countrywoman didn’t faze Sophie Devine, though, who’s ability to hit down the ground troubled the Heat bowlers. She hit a couple of massive sixes over long off, using the wind to her advantage, but when Brisbane’s bowlers dropped short, she punished them equally as hard, with her ability to clear the square boundaries on full display.
With such a display from Devine, the Strikers thin batting was not an issue, and Bridget Patterson played a handy support role in middle order before Tegan McPharlin provided an array of sweeps, reverse sweeps and ramps to score some quick runs at the end of the innings.
Brisbane’s innings never exited first gear, and early wickets proved costly, with Grace Harris and Sammy-Jo Johnson – pinch hitting at number three despite seven being the highest she’d previously batted for the Heat – departing early.
Even as early as the fourth over the required run rate was sneaking up around the 10 mark, and Adelaide’s strong, versatile bowling attack, combined with clever field placements by skipper Suzie Bates meant that the Heat never threatened to chase down the total.
Beth Mooney and Kirby Short both posted half-centuries, but their inability to score quickly enough proved costly, with the Heat falling 36 runs short despite having eight wickets in hand.
RENEGADES V THUNDER
The Thunder have shown that they might just be the team to beat after a dominant display against the Renegades.
The day got off to a good start for Thunder, with the dangerous Sophie Molineux dismissed in first over. The powerplay belonged to the Thunder too, with the Renegades languishing at 2/26 after six overs. From there, it was a constant flow of wickets, with only opener Erica Kershaw scoring over 20.
Rene Farrell was the pick of the bowlers, finishing with 3/17 off 4 overs, but it really was a team effort, with six of the seven bowlers used picking up a wicket.
The Thunder never looked in trouble in the chase, cruising to victory with 19 balls to spare. Young Tayla Vlaeminck, fresh off of being a part of the victorious T20 World Cup squad, was the pick of the bowlers in her WBBL debut, claiming four wickets in a futile spell.
With Harmanpreet Kaur still to add to this side, the Thunder certainly look like a formidable team this season. The Renegades, on the other hand, have plenty of work to do on their batting and will need far better performances from the top order in their upcoming matches.