An unlikely hero emerged on Tuesday to help the Perth Scorchers reach the Rebel Women’s Big Bash League final for the first time.
In a bowling line-up that boasts England new-ball pair Katherine Brunt and Anya Shrubsole, it was 24-year-old off-spinner Emma King who snared a match-winning 2-17 at the WACA Ground to restrict the Brisbane Heat to 5-124.
Her first strike saw Australian batter Beth Mooney, who trails only Meg Lanning in runs scored in WBBL|02, hole out for just 13, before she nabbed a sharp caught-and-bowled chance to end Heat captain Kirby Short’s knock.
Quick single: Scorchers blaze way into WBBL final
King is now the Scorchers’ leading wicket taker in the tournament and fifth on the overall table, with 17 scalps at 18 and a handy economy rate of 5.77.
It’s been an impressive tournament for King, who struggled to cement a spot in the Perth XI in WBBL|01, played just four matches in the inaugural edition of the competition.
"When you’ve got Brunt and Shrubsole, (leading the wickets) is a little bit surprising but I’ll take it," King said after Tuesday’s semi-final.
"It’s been quite exciting and a little bit different because I hardly played last year.
"This year I’ve just been happy to be playing.
"I think I’ve put more research into what I’m doing and making sure I’ve got the right plans for each batter."
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Scorchers opener Elyse Villani paid tribute to the hard yards King had put in during the winter months to improve her bowling.
"She had a look at what she needed to do to improve as a T20 bowler and worked hard with the staff," Villani said.
"She’s come a long way and she’s been bowling the house down."
Villani, who scored her fifth half-century of WBBL|02 to continue her outstanding summer in orange, said the disappointment of losing to the Sydney Thunder in last year’s semi-final made Saturday’s win over the Heat even sweeter.
“To right that wrong feels great and I think puts us in a good place heading forward.
“The wicket was a beauty to bat so credit to the bowlers who did fantastic job and laid the foundation, which made the batters’ job pretty easy.
“We’ve got great momentum at the moment and I think it’s just reward for the girls who’ve worked extremely hard during the last 12 months.”
The Scorchers will meet the winner of Wednesday’s second semi-final between the Sydney Sixers and Hobart Hurricanes in Saturday’s final.