Bright future ahead for Sixers: Perry
After reaching four WBBL finals in a row, the Sixers captain says there is still untapped talent in the magenta team
Laura Jolly at Drummoyne Oval, Sydney
26 January 2019, 06:54 PM AEST
The Sydney Sixers' quest for a Rebel WBBL three-peat and the start of a magenta dynasty was thwarted by the Brisbane Heat on Saturday, but skipper Ellyse Perry can see a bright future for her squad.
The Heat upset their more-fancied rivals to clinch a final-over, three-wicket win at Drummoyne Oval, taking out their maiden WBBL title in the process.
It was a rare defeat for the Sixers, who have appeared in all four WBBL deciders and won back-to-back trophies, while many of their players have also been part of New South Wales' long-going dominance of the domestic 50-over competition.
The Sixers are likely to retain the bulk of their squad for next year's first standalone edition of the WBBL and after blooding several youngsters this season including 15-year-old Hayley Silver-Holmes, Perry's optimistic about what's ahead.
"It's funny actually, I sent a text to Benny (Sawyer) our coach and said win lose or draw, I feel like there's been a huge amount of development and progress within our group," Perry said on Saturday.
"There's a lot of areas we haven't tapped into yet, whether from increased athleticism and professionalism and the fact we only spend two weeks as a group together before the season starts, there's opportunity to take this even further and that makes me really excited about next year."
Perry credited the Heat's well-executed bowling plans for containing her team's strong batting line-up, conceding their 7-131 was always unlikely to be enough at Drummoyne Oval given the talent in the Heat XI.
"We're pretty flat but it's the way it goes, we were beaten by a better side today," Perry said.
"We came up short with the bat unfortunately by 15 or 20 runs, so to stay in it way we did right to end there was superb and I'm really glad we were able to give the crowd something to cheer about.
"But we can't take anything away from the way Brisbane played, Beth's innings coupled with her partnership (with Kirby Short) took it away from us.
"They had really clear plans and they executed. We didn't get a lot of bad balls to put away and we hit a lot to the field as well."
South African leg-spinner Dane van Niekerk ensured the Sixers' hopes remained alive deep into the final as she sparked a fightback with the ball when she removed both Short and Mooney in the space of an over.
Off-spinner Erin Burns then struck two further blows to remove Jess Jonassen (2) and Josie Dooley (9) before South African Marizanne Kapp fired in a rocket throw to run out Heat import Laura Wolvaardt in the penultimate over.
"You're always in it in a final, but Beth probably took it away from us with her innings, it was a blueprint for what we probably needed in our (innings)," Perry said.
"When we got her out I thought we could definitely give ourselves a chance, it was a serious fightback and showed a lot of character from the group which was really pleasing."
Speaking after the final, van Niekerk said the Sixers would still draw pride from a tournament that saw them top the table at the end of the regular season, while she expected the defeat to make her team even more determined for success in WBBL|05.
"I just said to our GM Jodie (Hawkins) maybe we needed this to be hungrier, next year we'll come back even harder," she said.
"If we don't take pride out of (making all four finals), something's wrong.
"I said to Kappie this morning, no matter what happens today, we've been in four finals.
"It's massive, it's something to be proud of."
For the Heat, there's a certain satisfaction at being the first team from outside Sydney to win a WBBL title.
"It's really healthy for a competition when you can have multiple franchises winning," Heat captain Kirby Short said.
"It's an endorsement for how we've played our cricket. I'm really pleased we're the first team to get it out of Sydney."