India star Smriti Mandhana has led Hobart Hurricanes to their first win of the Rebel WBBL season, but the victory came at a cost with star import Hayley Matthews suffering a suspected knee injury.
The Hurricanes defeated Melbourne Stars by 72 runs at Burnie, with a brilliant 69 from new recruit Mandhana powering Hobart to 6-196, the highest team total of WBBL|04 to date, before three wickets to England star Heather Knight helped bowl Melbourne out for 124 in 16.5 overs.
Batting first, it was the Matthews and Mandhana show early, the pair putting on 98 runs for the second wicket before a disastrous run out resulted in what appeared to be a serious injury to Matthews.
West Indian allrounder Matthews had raced to 42 from just 30 deliveries in the 10th over but fell awkwardly while attempting to quick turn and return to her crease at the non-striker’s end.
She immediately clutched her leg, appearing to have hurt her knee. To add insult to injury, she was run out by the bowler Nicola Hancock, but it mattered little with Matthews needing to be assisted from the field by medical staff.
The extent of the injury is expected to become clearer this week.
The pair had carried the Hurricanes to 1-104 from 9.4 overs before Matthew’s unfortunate dismissal.
Mandhana was dropped twice through her 41-ball innings and made the Stars pay as she struck 69, while speedy contributions from Heather Knight (23 off 19), Corinne Ball (23no from 17) and Sasha Moloney (23no from 9) helped the Hurricanes to 6-196.
It was a tough day for the Stars' bowlers, but stand-in skipper Erin Osborne was again superb, with figures of 1-22 from her four overs.
Big-hitting South African Lizelle Lee struck three consecutive boundaries to kick-start the chase but didn’t add another run to her total before departing, and when Angela Reakes’ promising start came to an end on 31 (23) it left the Stars in trouble.
While Osborne and Mignon du Preez provided the match-winning rescue act for the Stars in Saturday’s chase, there was to be no repeat on Saturday, du Preez dismissed for three before Osborne followed for 16.
Young quick Annabel Sutherland provided some flair in a 14-ball 23, but it wasn't enough for the Stars who were bowled out for 124.
English import Knight took 3-10, while Hurricanes veteran Veronica Pyke picked up the key early wickets of Lee and Katie Mack to finish with figures of 2-19.
Hobart will host reigning champions Sydney Sixers at Blundstone Arena next Saturday, while the Stars will meet the Scorchers at Melbourne’s Casey Fields.