A seven-wicket upset win over crosstown rivals Melbourne Renegades was just the start of the journey the Melbourne Stars must take if they want to make their first Rebel WBBL finals appearance, according to batter Georgia Elwiss.
It was just the Stars' second win of the season and, after a sluggish start to WBBL|03, they will need to make up considerable ground to crack into the top four.
Elwiss (58 not out) and South African Mignon du Preez (45) helped the team in green turn their fortunes around with the bat, digging in for a patient and composed 97-run third wicket stand.
They came to the crease at 2-23, with openers Lizelle Lee (16) and Katie Mack (4) both sent packing by Kris Britt catches.
They dug in and were smart with their shot selections – though they also had some luck with missed chances and a dropped catch – but started to up the ante when the equation got to nine runs an over with nine overs to play.
"I knew, going in, me and Mignon would run really well and we’ve got a running game – which obviously isn't ideal in 40-degree heat," player of the match Elwiss said.
"But we knew that if we could push them, they would be suffering as well.
"We didn't want to let the rate get too high – I think when it got to 10, we identified that we needed to have a bit of a go and get it back down, and fortunately it came off for us."
The win over a team that was rated as a championship smokey following their Super Over win against reigning title holders Sydney Sixers on Wednesday was just the tonic the Stars needed as they make a difficult push for finals.
Their first win came against an in-form Perth Scorchers last week – a match which has since cost them captain Kristen Beams, who did not get up from a hand injury in time to play in the Stars’ past two matches – but another win against a top-four side will instill belief in the new-look Stars group, Elwiss said.
"It was just a really pleasing performance," she said. "I think the girls have been struggling over the first few games, and to win games like that, I think it gives you a lot of confidence," she said.
"We are getting to every game and approaching it as if it's a final. I think winning games like this, winning tight games and winning the derby absolutely gives the girls a load of confidence.
"Hopefully they"ll really put in in Adelaide and when we go to Brisbane."
Elwiss said Beams would travel with the group to their game in Adelaide on Tuesday, but was still an uncertainty to play.
Stand-in captain Erin Osborne has been impressive in the two games she has led, and was again excellent with the ball against the Renegades, taking 2-14 off four overs, removing openers Sophie Molineux (11) and Chamari Atapattu (8).
The Stars unveiled a surprise in the derby, handing second-gamer Nicole Faltum the wicketkeepers’ gloves and releasing Lizelle Lee to the infield.
"(Faltum's) brilliant,” Elwiss said. "She's so lively and she’s such a good kid. She's got so much energy and I think that really helps us in the field, especially when it's 40 degrees, her running between the wickets and geeing everyone up."