Mooney braves heat, illness in title win
One of the gutsiest innings ever seen in the WBBL helped deliver a maiden championship
Laura Jolly at Drummoyne Oval, Sydney
26 January 2019, 05:11 PM AEST
Brisbane Heat opener Beth Mooney almost couldn't bring herself to watch the thrilling conclusion to Saturday's Rebel WBBL final, as she doused herself in an ice-bath to recover from one of the more courageous knocks in the competition's history.
Visibly struggling with illness and the scorching heat at Sydney's Drummoyne Oval, Mooney had produced a 46-ball 65 to lift her team within sight of an upset win over the Sydney Sixers and a maiden WBBL title only to fall in the 15th over.
Sent immediately to the ice bath to try and cool herself down, Mooney saw a further two teammates return to the sheds as the game went down to the final over, before Delissa Kimmince and Laura Harris sealed a famous win with just four balls to spare.
"I plonked myself in the ice bath and was probably a bit nervous towards the end, I couldn't really watch," Mooney said.
"They were pretty oppressive conditions out there and I haven't been well the last couple of weeks, but I had a job to do."
The left-hander often struggles with heat but making life harder for Mooney on Saturday was the fact she was already rundown and recovering from illness.
She regularly sat on her haunches between balls and called for ice packs and an inhaler during the drinks breaks during her innings.
But she managed to share a crucial 84-run stand with captain Kirby Short, as the pair helped the Heat recover after falling to 2-14 early in their chase.
"I had a bit of a flu leading into the semi, I was just a bit rundown and it finally caught up with me at the wrong time," she said.
"I was pretty hot and pretty cooked and the outfield wasn't conducive to hitting boundaries which wasn't ideal, but even when the run rate got to 7.9 I thought really good cricket shots were going to win this game.
"The calm (Kirby) brings to the group and to help with my batting, we complement each other nicely.
"We talked about getting the run rate down as quick as we could, so that took my mind off how I was feeling … we managed to sneak a few twos towards the end there without my legs giving way."
Asked whether she had considered retiring due to how badly she was battling, Mooney said she fact she was still striking the ball well convinced her to remain in the middle.
"(The doctors) left the decision to me, at one point I was unsure what would be the best result for the team as I couldn't run any more twos so I thought I'd have to retire or get out," she explained.
"But I was kind of happy to keep going because I was hitting the ball nicely."
Mooney's innings, and the delays caused by her struggles, frustrated the Sixers as they felt the game and a third consecutive title slipping out of their reach.
The Heat opener revealed there had been some chat in the middle, adding it had only strengthened her resolve.
"Ellyse (Perry) and Alyssa (Healy), they've played some outstanding cricket throughout this season but the nature of knowing who you're up against (meant) I kind of knew that when I was getting chat thrown at me, that meant we were on top," Mooney said.
"The beauty of this game is once they're doing that and worrying about what we're doing, we've already beaten them.
"So it was kind of nice to know while I wasn't feeling well, I was going well enough to piss them off and they were getting frustrated at how long I was taking to face up.
"As I said, I've played enough cricket against (the Sixers) to know what gets under their skin and we definitely won that battle."
At one point, Mooney doubled over and appeared to be sick, laughing as she revealed she and Short had discussed how they might handle such an indelicate situation should it become unavoidable.
"I kept it in thankfully, I don't think anyone would have appreciated it on live TV," Mooney laughed.
Captain Short was full of praise for Perry's efforts after the match, adding they'd discussed a strategic placing of any involuntary emissions from Mooney.
"When the physio came out we went for the anti-nausea drugs … it could have got a bit messy," Short laughed.
"We felt it we went to the fielding position of someone who was key would be the place.
"Make it a bit nasty to launch yourself on the ground, always strategy."
A disappointed Perry also praised Mooney's innings after the match, noting her international teammate's innings had taken the game away from the Sixers.
"She played really good cricket shots," Perry said. "I've seen Beth bat for a number of years, she's incredibly good at finding pockets in the field, I think she's better than anyone else in the world at that and she did that really well."