The WBBL ladder is starting to take shape after another massive round of matches.
Thunder v Hurricanes
The Hurricanes suffered yet another loss, this time at the hands of the Thunder, who look to be the team to beat at this stage of the tournament.
Erin Fazackerley went bang at the top of the order for Hobart, smashing a quickfire 35 as her and Smriti Mandhana got their side off to a good start. Unfortunately, the middle order failed to fire, with spin twins Sam Bates and Stefanie Taylor taking five wickets between them to stall Hobart’s innings.
At one stage 170 looked possible, but the Thunder bowled beautifully in the middle stages of the innings to restrict Hobart to 153.
The Thunder comfortably chased the runs. Explosive keeper-bat Rachel Priest looks to be finding her feet in WBBL06, smashing 40 off just 21, and Naomi Stalenberg anchored the innings with 55 off 39.
50 up for Naomi Stalenberg and she's seeing it beautifully out there! 👏 #WBBL04 pic.twitter.com/HBbdh3ztwW— Rebel Women's Big Bash League (@WBBL) December 21, 2018
This victory took the Thunder top of the table. They look to be a balanced side, with depth in their batting and plenty of bowling options, and they could be the team to beat.
Strikers v Stars
The first of three double headers this round saw the Strikers and Stars split the two match ups.
The Strikers were once again too reliant on too few with the bat, and although Sophie Devine scored 46 at the top of the order and Tegan McPharlin contributed with a handy 41 not out, the rest of the top order fell for single digits.
More of this needed from Sophie Devine?! @StrikersWBBL pic.twitter.com/JrNevyEgPM— Rebel Women's Big Bash League (@WBBL) December 21, 2018
Adelaide were 4/45 in a situation that has become too familiar for them this season. That’s when Devine and McPharlin came together and put on 63 in a partnership that gave them a chance.
The Stars chase got off to a fast start with Lizelle Lee smashing 33 off 19, but it was experienced campaigner Erin Osborne that starred with the bat, guiding her team home in a perfectly timed chase with 54 off 45 not out.
Melbourne needed 23 off 18, which turned into 8 off the last over. When Megan Schutt ran out Annabel Sutherland, it looked like Adelaide had the upper hand with six needed off four balls, but Alana King strolled out to the crease and smacked a first ball six to get her side home.
It was a different story in the second match as the Strikers cruised to a comfortable win. Suzie Bates was the star, scoring 95 off 60 before backing it up with five wickets with the ball. Her form has kept the Strikers alive with the bat, and she’s now the second leading run scorer in the competition.
Two early wickets for the @StarsBBL and this spells a bit of trouble for the @StrikersWBBL!— Rebel Women's Big Bash League (@WBBL) December 23, 2018
Strikers 2-45 (6.0) at the end of the powerplay! #WBBL04 pic.twitter.com/PPYGUjLjp2
She put on 131 for the third wicket with Bridget Patterson, who played a fantastic supporting role with her 51 off 42 not out. Holly Ferling, Georgia Elwiss and Nicola Hancock were expensive with the ball, and the Stars’ bowling attack might prove to be a weakness in this competition.
Devine’s 95 was brilliant, but she wasn’t done for the day. She had her blue headband on and starred with the ball, picking up a five-wicket haul.
Her ability to hurry up the batter with a bit of extra pace and the surprise element of a sharp bouncer clearly troubled the Stars’ batters. Combine that with the scoreboard pressure and the Stars batters couldn’t handle Devine’s bowling.