WBBL triple header, triple excitement

15 January 2016

Three concurrent games threw up all kinds of surprises in the final WBBL weekend

Triscari heroics dampen Thunder

Four wickets in four balls for the Melbourne Stars proved the undoing of top-of-the-table Sydney Thunder who failed to chase down a below-par score in a rain affected match. 

Seamer Gemma Triscari (4-10) claimed the second hat-trick of the Rebel Women’s Big Bash League with the last three balls of the game's penultimate over.

The Thunder will feel hard done by after restricting the Stars to just 114 off their 20 overs after a disciplined bowling and fielding display. However when Duckworth-Lewis determined that the Thunder needed 64 runs off 10 over following a lengthy rain delay, the task proved too much.

Resuming on 0-5 after 2.3 overs, wickets fell regularly for the Thunder, with runs on a soggy outfield proving hard to come by. 

The bulk of the wickets came at the end, when the game was almost up, with five of the seven coming in the last two overs, including a brace for England international Natalie Sciver (2-9). 

Watch: Tricari's four in four balls

The Stars will come away satisfied after bucking an unwelcome trend of only being able to win when Meg Lanning has scored lots of runs.

Lanning had looked in good touch early on, timing the ball nicely and working the ball around the park. 

However after playing a signature late cut to guide the ball to the boundary, she was caught and bowled the following ball by Southern Stars off-spinner Erin Osborne (1-23) for 20.

By no means a failure of an innings but Lanning’s departure provided a true test for the Melbourne Stars, her wicket in the eighth over still leaving a lot of work to be done.

Gemma Triscari hat-trick

Look who's laughing. Triscari picked up the WBBL's second hat-trick // Getty 

Sciver’s poor form with the bat for the Stars continued as she fell lbw for just one, becoming one of two victims of the young Thunder leg-spinner Maisy Gibson. 

Gibson, who has played four matches for the Thunder, is one of a number of promising youngsters at the Sydney outfit who continues to perform on the big stage.

The WBBL has thrown up a few interesting paradoxes during the tournament – we’ve had off-spin bowlers in the guise of Molly Strano and Morna Nielsen whose flighted deliveries are more reminiscent of the classic wrist-spinner, while Gibson bowls a far flatter ball more akin to a finger-spinner. 

It seems to work however, as the 19-year old returned neat figures of 2-5 while Stafanie Taylor (2-20), the West Indian off-spinning all-rounder, provided able support.

However it was the firepower of wicket-keeper Emma Inglis that proved the difference between the two sides.

“That’s gone a long, long way,” screamed the commentary as an Inglis straight six sailed over the long-off boundary. It was a booming shot, and the only one of the match, in an encouraging sign that the Stars batting depth is finding its feet towards the business end of the tournament.

The win brings the Stars into third place and easily within the reach of finals while the Thunder still look for that elusive one win to cement their own place. The fun continues. 

Super Strikers stifle Renegades

To cap off a thrilling weekend of WBBL cricket Friday’s (marginally) later game went right down to the wire when it threw up the tournament’s first ever super over. 

After looking down and out on 7-73 in the tenth over chasing 141, the Adelaide Strikers dragged things back in remarkable fashion to set up the deciding over against the Melbourne Renegades.

After an unbeaten captain’s knock of 49 by Lauren Ebsary had guided the Strikers to the precipice, it was left to the clean striking of New Zealand international Sophie Devine to blast 20 off the Strikers over the line. 

The Renegades’ Danni Wyatt, who had top-scored earlier in the match with a thumping 63, tried to match Devine’s might but couldn’t pull it off as the Renegades fell 8 runs short.

It was a fantastic match for the neutral as these two teams looked to scrap it out for a lifeline into next week’s finals. 

The quality in all departments was high; England international Wyatt starred with the bat to post the Renegades’ highest individual score of the tournament, playing fluently and intelligently to rebuild after the Melbourne side had found themselves at 2-12 in the fourth over.

An explosive partnership between Kris Birtt and Wyatt did a fine repair job, combining good running with some lusty blows to add 65 runs off just 43 balls together.

Danni Wyatt's innings of 63 set up a total of 141 for the Melbourne Renegades // Getty

The keeping throughout was excellent too; fellow England international Sarah Taylor was in sparkling form behind the stumps, picking up three stumpings for the first three wickets of the game, including two off Southern Stars seamer Sarah Coyte. 

Quick hands proved Taylor’s downfall too however as she in turn was stumped for just 13 by New Zealand international Rachel Priest in the return innings.

Taylor’s wicket was the third of three for Renegades seamer Briana Binch, whose two-over spell almost did for the Strikers before they’d even started the chase.

The VicSpirit and Renegades bowler has bowled tidily all tournament but without any one big performance. Today brought that performance. 

In a stunning first over, Binch bowled veteran Southern Star Shelly Nitschke before trapping last week’s danger-woman Sarah Coyte lbw for just four. Taylor however, remained at the crease as the key wicket. Big name, no big deal for Binch, who swiftly sent her packing too.

After Ebsary’s heroic knock of 49 from 39, the super over was set up in exciting fashion after a quick fire 18 off 11 by Amanda Wellington was ended on the last ball of the match with the scores tied. 

Leg-spinner Kris Britt had bowled a floaty ball, pitching on leg and which the umpire duly called a wide, before realising that the ball had, in fact, bowled Wellington around the legs.

The super over ensued, as did the excitement. A win's a win however, and the Strikers keep their own slim hopes of finals alive while the Renegades now bow out. Tune in tomorrow as the drama continues.   

Stunning Sixers extend winning run

Sydney Sixers have kept their Rebel Women's Big Bash League finals hopes alive, toppling the Hobart Hurricanes by 26 runs at Sydney's Waverley Oval.

Sixers skipper Ellyse Perry opted to bat, before a heavy downpour delayed the start of the match and ultimately forced the match to be reduced to 15 overs per side.

When play finally got underway Alyssa Healy made a speedy start before being dismissed for 16 off 14 balls, while Perry (16), Sara McGlashan (21) and Marizanne Kapp (21) were the only Sixers to reach double figures as the Hurricanes restricted them to 7-98.

Kapp’s innings was particularly entertaining with the South African unleashing a number of reverse sweeps, pulls and paddles to keep the scoreboard moving late in the innings.

New Zealand spinner Amy Satterthwaite was the pick of the Hobart bowlers, finishing with 3-16 from her three overs, including the key wickets of Perry and McGlashan.

A revised run rate courtesy of the Duckworth Lewis Method increased that total to 99, but the added run made no difference as the Hurricanes' batting line-up was restricted to 7-74.

Hobart skipper Heather Knight top-scored for the Hurricanes with 23 runs off 25 balls, but only two of her teammates were able to join her in reaching double figures.

Medium pacers Sarah Aley (4-8) and Kapp (2-10) produced disciplined spells, while Healy showed her class with two sharp stumpings from Aley’s bowling.

The win was the Sixers' sixth in a row, moving them to 12 points with two matches left to play this weekend, while the Hurricanes remained second on the ladder with points, also with two games left.

Saturday's WBBL action

Sydney Sixers v Sydney Thunder, SCG (1.40pm) - Broadcast live on Channel 10 

Hobart Hurricanes v Melbourne Stars, Blacktown (2.30pm)

Adelaide Strikers v Brisbane Heat, Adelaide Oval 2 (10.30pm)

Perth Scorchers v Melbourne Renegades, Adelaide Oval 2 (3pm)

Sunday's WBBL action

Sydney Thunder v Melbourne Stars, Sydney University (10am)

Sydney Sixers v Hobart Hurricanes, Hurstville (10am)

Melbourne Renegades v Adelaide Strikers, Adelaide Oval (10.30am)

Melbourne Renegades v Perth Scorchers, Adelaide Oval (3pm)