Beams thrives on leadership challenge

Kristen Beams couldn't have hoped for a better first outing as captain, but expects Meg Lanning to return on Friday

Two minutes was all the notice Kristen Beams was given that she'd be captaining the Melbourne Stars against the Adelaide Strikers in the Rebel Women's Big Bash League at the MCG on Tuesday.

There were just 120 seconds left until the coin toss when the decision was made to withdraw captain Meg Lanning, who was carrying a tight hamstring. Suddenly leg-spinner Beams found herself in the middle, exchanging team sheets with Strikers skipper Tegan McPharlin.

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Beams' previous captaincy experience involved leadership roles coming through the junior ranks in Tasmania and a short stint in club cricket in Melbourne.

Beams just misses out on a hat-trick

But rather than being thrown by the added responsibility, Beams thrived, taking 3-12 as well as a sharp catch as the Strikers were restricted to 9-94. The Southern Stars spinner was deservedly named player of the match.

"I said to Meg afterwards, I've had fun but enough's enough and I'm looking forward to having her back next match," Beams said after the Stars wrapped up a six-wicket win.

"It was a unique opportunity and I enjoyed it, but when you've got the best player in the world on the bench, it'll be good to have her back.

"Meg's been just such a great leader for us so who better to learn from than Meg Lanning?

"I've had the privilege of playing a lot of cricket with her so I think that helped."

Match Highlights: Stars down the Strikers

It was just Beams' third game of WBBL|02 after the leg-spinner missed the early stages of the tournament with a finger injury picked up during Australia's ODI series against South Africa in November.

Her first two games back produced figures of 0-15 and 1-27 and after Tuesday's performance, Beams is now confident she's returning to her best.

"I feels like I'm getting better and better and it was important today to put in a good performance here, so I'm pleased to have been able to get a couple of wickets.

"It's more about having a bit of confidence with (my finger) and I think I've got that now."

Lanning is expected to be fit for the Stars' next hit out, against the Adelaide Strikers in Perth on Friday.

Classy Mack guides Stars home

The Stars have traditionally struggled when Lanning – who is on track to finish as the competition's leading runs scorer for a second consecutive year – hasn't fired.

They looked in a spot of bother chasing the below-par total at 4-56 on Tuesday, before Katie Mack (31no) and Anna Lanning (15no) combined to steer the Stars home.

"It's definitely confidence boosting, the rest of the group certainly back each other but it was about the players backing themselves.

"Now it'll just be an advantage to have Meg back to add another percent to what we did today."

The match was the younger Lanning's first of WBBL|02, with the 22-year-old only finding out she was part of the playing XI when her sister was ruled out shortly before the toss.

"I'm always ready to go," Anna Lanning said after play.

"I've been hitting them well in the nets lately and I was lucky to get out in the middle today."