The Renegades have won four on the trot, but the Sixers and Thunder remain the team to beat as the WBBL enters the home stretch.
Melbourne Stars v Melbourne Renegades
The New Year’s Day clash went the way of the Renegades, who pulled ahead of their crosstown rivals on the ladder.
Sophie Molineux returned at the top of the order and was phenomenal, blasting twelve boundaries on her way to 78 not out. Her innings showcased her incredible off-side stroke play, with eight of her first nine boundaries coming through the off side.
Whether it was hitting drives on the up, gliding full-length balls through third man or cutting anything slightly short, she showed off the entire array of strokes.
Her all-round ability is incredibly promising for Australia’s future considering she was picked in the national team as a bowler.
The Stars have been reliant on Lizelle Lee and Erin Osborne for runs all tournament, so when those two failed, it was bad news for the Stars. A late stand between Georgia Elwiss and Annabel Sutherland wasn’t enough to get them over the line.
The spinners were the key for the Renegades, with Molly Strano and Georgia Wareham picking up five wickets between them. Their current bowling attack includes four front line spinners (the other two being Molineux and Amy Satterthwaite), and it appears to be working so far. It’s a bold strategy but given the success of spinners in T20 cricket and the class of the four spinners mentioned, it could be the point of difference that gives them an edge for the rest of the season.
Sydney Sixers v Sydney Thunder
The top of the table clash might not have been the run-fest that everyone expected, but it might have been a sign that the power balance in Sydney has shifted, with the Thunder walking away comfortable victors.
Lisa Griffith was the star with the ball, dismissing Perry with a ball that stayed low before clean bowling Alyssa Healy with a textbook inswinger. From there, the Sixers fell to 6/33, as young Rachel Trenaman – more known for her batting than her leg-spin – picked up 2/11 on debut, including a fantastic delivery that drew Ash Gardner out of her crease and beat the outside edge.
Marizanne Kapp provided some lower order resistance, with 40 off 41, but a total of 98 was never going to be enough, even on a difficult pitch. Rachael Haynes and Naomi Stalenberg made light work out the chase, scoring 43 and 44 not out respectively.
These two sides look to be the outstanding teams in the competition this season, and it will be intriguing to see what the Sixers learn from this match come finals time.