Too many cooks spoil the broth. Or something like that. The Perth Scorchers, such a highly-rated side, yet so quick to demise. Packed on paper with international superstars, the Western Australian side have imploded once again, falling to 100 all out as they failed to chase the Adelaide Strikers' target of 135 in front of a 4,500-strong crowd on a hot New Year's Eve at the Adelaide Oval.
WATCH: Taylor's on the drive with 4x4
The Strikers had taken a while to get going in their Rebel Women’s Big Bash League campaign - a hangover from South Australia’s table-topping WNCL campaign perhaps - losing their first four matches before beating a strong Sydney Thunder side in their last outing. However the Strikers set out with intent from the start, running well and setting a strong platform with star wicketkeeper-cum-batter Sarah Taylor (48) once again the lynchpin. The pressure created by a competitive total was soon capitalised upon by some probing and disciplined bowling to rip through the Scorchers batting line-up.
The Scorchers' resident England captain, Charlotte Edwards, who has amassed 221 runs in the past four matches for her beleaguered side, could only look on in horror as wicket after wicket fell before her. Still on just one, Edwards was left helpless at the other end while four wickets fell at the top of the order for just 31 runs. In the end the task proved too much for Edwards to do alone as she too was stumped coming down the wicket to the wily leg-spin of Amanda Wellington (3-13). Edwards almost top-scored though. With 14.
WATCH: Wily Wellington snares three
Wellington, a promising young leg-spinner, had taken just one wicket in the tournament to date but really found her groove in this match, claiming the scalps of both England internationals Edwards and Katherine Brunt in a four-over spell that included plenty of turn. Wellington was ably supported by the ever-present Southern Star Megan Schutt, whose 3-11 included one over that did for both the dangerous Deandra Dottin (13) and Chloe Piparo (0) in the space of two balls.
Schutt has a reputation for capturing wickets in clusters, having registered South Australia’s first ever one-day domestic hat-trick earlier in the season for the Breezair SA Scorpions before finding herself once again on one earlier in the WBBL, against the Hobart Hurricanes in the Strikers first match of the season.
WATCH: Schutt swings one through Piparo
As she had done in the Ashes earlier this year, Schutt gave a live tutorial of swing bowling, this time on free-to-air television broadcast across the nation. Schutt, in a clinical bowling display and while no slouch when it comes to speed, showed to budding young girls and boys alike that it's not all about breaking the speed gun – the moving ball can be just as deadly.
Perth Scorchers coach Lisa Keightley admitted that fatigue was setting in even amongst her side's experienced players as they faced the back end of a gruelling schedule which sees them play six games in seven days, including travel from Perth to Adelaide. Keightley wasn't looking for excuses though – it was a disappointing performance from a strong top order that has failed to fire throughout the tournament. Even Dottin, who arrived on Australian soil announcing that she would be the "key ingredient in helping them (the Scorchers) in the top order", has failed to make an impact with the bat.
The Strikers meanwhile are really getting into their stride. Their own West Indian, Stacy-Ann King, registered her top score of the tournament with a run-a-ball 21 and some clinical running to provide for the first time in the WBBL a useful opening partnership alongside Taylor.
Taylor was her usual explosive self, moving well in the crease to construct a leg-side dominant innings, falling two short of a half-century when she tried one creative shot too many. By then however, the platform was set and after a handy knock of 32 from 32 balls from New Zealander Sophie Devine, the Strikers had a competitive total on the board.
WATCH: Terrific Taylor comes unstuck
The twists and turns of the tale that is the WBBL so far continues. Upsets, collapses, clusters and sixes – this tournament has it all. As 2015 comes to a close, the race to the end and the final on January 24 is still anyone’s game. Gaze into your crystal balls folks, because it’s gonna be a cracker.
FREE OFFER: Get an Optus Live Pass to stream every ball of BBL matches (and Test matches) for FREE until midnight January 9. Click here or on the image below.