Scorchers pip Thunder in thriller
It came down to the last ball in Perth where the hosts just held on
30 December 2018, 12:17 PM AEST
Magnificent death bowling from Heather Graham has helped steer the Perth Scorchers to a gripping three-run Rebel WBBL win over the Sydney Thunder.
With star international pair Harmanpreet Kaur and Stafanie Taylor at the crease and the Thunder requiring nine to win off the last over to reel in the Scorchers' 7-127, the odds appeared in the visitors' favour.
But Graham (2-8 off three overs), the WBBL's leading wicket-taker this summer, had ice in her veins.
She immediately dismissed Kaur, who battled for rhythm all day, scoring 19 off 31 balls, without a solitary boundary.
Then, with five needed off the last ball, Taylor could only squeeze Graham's perfect yorker for a single, setting off wild celebrations at Lilac Hill from the Perth camp after sweeping the heavily favoured Thunder 2-0 for the weekend.
Opener Rachel Priest (0) and No.3 Naomi Stalenberg (four) both holed out early, trying to slog Nicole Bolton (2-26) before Thunder skipper Alex Blackwell (37) and Ashes Australian captain Rachael Haynes (33) steadied the ship.
But when the experienced pair departed, the asking rate escalated and neither Kaur nor Taylor was able to make leeway against some smart bowling.
Earlier, the Scorchers, minus gun opener Elyse VIllani (hamstring), crumbled to 3-30 after the powerplay, which soon became 4-44.
Bolton, who enjoyed a fine all-round game, piloted the recovery mission, top-scoring with a sprightly 50 and put on 78 for the fifth wicket with Lauren Ebsary (33) to give the hosts something decent to defend.
Lisa Griffith (2-17) and Rene Farrell (2-21) were the best with the ball for the Thunder.
Scorchers XI: Lanning (c), Jones, Bolton, Graham, Esbary, Piparo, Carmichael, Cross, Peschel, King, Cleary
Thunder XI: Blackwell (c), Bates, Carey, Farrell, Griffith, Haynes, Kaur, Priest, Stalberg, Taylor, Vakarewa