'Gades stunned as Strikers storm into WBBL final
The Strikers outclassed the Renegades in every facet to charge into the WBBL final, while an injury to Sophie Molineux cast a pall over an already tough evening for the 'Gades
Laura Jolly at Adelaide Oval
25 November 2021, 10:37 PM AEST
Adelaide Strikers have stormed into the Weber WBBL final after thrashing Melbourne Renegades by nine wickets with 9.1 overs remaining at Adelaide Oval.
An apparent foot injury to Renegades and Australia star Sophie Molineux cast a further dark cloud over what was a tough night for her team in the face of a dominant display from the Strikers with bat and ball.
Molineux did not bat as her team limped to 8-83, with coach Simon Helmot revealing his captain had been in a 'moon boot' in the week leading into the match.
The left-arm spinner did take the new ball as her side attempted to defend their meagre total, but her two overs went for 22 runs and the Renegades had no answers as Dane van Niekerk (43 from 30) quickly put the result beyond doubt.
The South African departed with 12 runs required, but Katie Mack (31no from 29) steered her side to a thumping win to set up a showdown against Perth Scorchers at Optus Stadium on Saturday night.
In the process Mack passed 500 runs for the season and sits just 25 runs behind 'BKT Golden Cap' Beth Mooney, who she could chase down in Saturday's final.
It was all one-way traffic for the in-form Strikers, who have gone from strength to strength since snapping a four-game losing streak midway through the season.
Backing up from their eight-wicket thrashing of Brisbane Heat on Wednesday, Adelaide's bowlers left their opponents in tatters for a second consecutive evening, this time with quicks Megan Schutt (2-23) and Darcie Brown (2-9) doing the damage up front.
Schutt set the tone first ball, with a hooping in-swinger that castled Josie Dooley.
Curiously, the Renegades reshuffled their batting order, deploying the aggressive Carly Leeson (2) at No.3, but the move failed to pay off when she miscued a drive off Brown to mid-wicket.
Jemimah Rodrigues continued to attack, striking three boundaries off Schutt, but when she holed out to Laura Wolvaardt at third, the Renegades were reeling at 3-20.
Harmanpreet Kaur and Jess Duffin had proved a reliable partnership for the Renegades throughout WBBL|07, but they could not replicate their past match-winning efforts as Duffin, who was tied down by the Strikers' pace attack, went after Amanda-Jade Wellington and only managed to spoon a catch down the throat of McGrath.
The Strikers captain then captured the critical scalp of player of the tournament Kaur lbw for seven.
In an eerily similar script to the previous night's play, nothing went to plan for the Renegades.
Courtney Webb was run out at the non-strikers end for a diamond duck; English batter Eve Jones (14 off 21), who loomed as a potential saviour, attempted a second run on a Sarah Coyte misfield, only to fall to a direct hit from the former Australia allrounder.
At 7-47 after 12 overs the Renegades sorely needed the experience and cool head of captain Molineux, but the left-hander was nowhere to be seen.
It was only after tailenders Ella Hayward and Holly Ferling went out to bat ahead of her that it became clear something was amiss with the Australia star.
"She's been in the moon boot for most of the week, she's got a sore foot," Helmot said on Channel Seven.
"We were desperate for her to play, she really wanted her to play, we were hoping we weren't going to require her (to bat) tonight … she's been an unbelievable leader and she's been one of the main reasons we've featured in finals this season."
Australia will be desperately hoping the ailment is not serious, with the Ashes and ODI World Cup looming early next year.
Molineux, who was padded up, was ultimately not required to bat, cutting a dejected figure on the bench as the Renegades scraped to 8-83.
The Strikers will fly to Perth on Friday, where they will need to win their third match in four days to win their maiden title.
Melbourne Renegades XI: Jemimah Rodrigues, Eve Jones, Carly Leeson, Harmanpreet Kaur, Jess Duffin, Courtney Webb, Sophie Molineux (c), Ella Hayward, Holly Ferling, Rhiann O'Donnell, Josie Dooley (wk)
Adelaide Strikers XI: Dane van Niekerk, Katie Mack, Laura Wolvaardt, Tahlia McGrath (c), Bridget Patterson, Madeline Penna, Amanda-Jade Wellington, Tegan McPharlin (wk), Sarah Coyte, Megan Schutt, Darcie Brown
The Eliminator: Adelaide Strikers beat Brisbane Heat by eight wickets
The Challenger: Adelaide Strikers beat Melbourne Renegades by nine wickets
The Final: Perth Scorchers v Adelaide Strikers | Optus Stadium | November 27 at 4.10pm local (7.10pm AEDT)
Grab your tickets or tune in on the Seven Network, Fox Cricket, Kayo, the CA Live app or listen on ABC radio