A brilliant piece of awareness from Sarah Aley has seen Sydney Sixers force a Super Over during a chaotic finish to their Rebel WBBL clash with Melbourne Renegades at Geelong’s Kardinia Park.
The Renegades thought they’d stolen a one-run victory on the final ball of the innings, but a failure to break the stumps – and a canny stolen single from Aley – ensured the match ended in a tie and went to a Super Over.
Thankfully for the Renegades, they managed to win the Super Over and get the victory, but the result was overshadowed by the dramatic finish to Sydney's innings.
The Sixers, chasing 121 for victory, required three runs off the final ball to win and two to tie with Sarah Aley on strike.
Aley could only manage a single and the ball returned to Renegades wicketkeeper Emma Inglis, who threw it in the air in celebration.
But amid the Renegades’ jubilation at seemingly winning the match, Aley realised the ball was still alive as Inglis had failed to remove the bails before throwing it in the air.
So the Sixers batter sprinted through for a second run, a desperate dive at the keeper's end just beating the frantic attempt to run her out from Renegades captain Amy Satterthwaite, who realised too late that the ball was still in play.
After a lengthy discussion between Satterthwaite and the umpires, the officials confirmed the second run counted and the match had ended in a tie, necessitating a Super Over to determine the result.
Under the Laws of Cricket (section 188.8.131.52), the ball is considered dead "when it is finally settled in the hands of the wicketkeeper or of the bowler” but whether it is finally settled or not is "a matter for the umpire alone to decide" (section 20.2).
Speaking after play, player-of-the-match Satterthwaite described the chaos as a "learning experience" for her team.
"It was an interesting moment," she said. "It was pretty frustating in a way.
"We learnt what it means for the ball to be dead, so that was a learning moment for us.
"But at the end of the day the umpires made the decison and we had to move on from that and focus on the Super Over and get our emotions ready for that.
"There was a lot of emotion going, a lot of frustration and anger. But being out in the field again helped us regather.
"The message to the girls was we've got to let this emotion go, the reality is we've got a Super Over so we've got to move on and get ready for it."
Satterthwaite put her last-ditch attempt to stop Aley's stolen single down to her experience playing indoor cricket.
"I had my suspicions as I went in for the ball, I've played indoor and in that case the ball's never really dead so that mindset came in," she explained.
"So I went after it thinking I could beat the batter but I wasn't quite fast enough."
Despite the scare, Satterthwaite said her team would take a lot of confidence from knocking off the defending champions.
"It gives us a lot of belief in a lot of different ways. Not only have we beaten one of of top teams in the competition, but we won it in a fashion that's really tight so we have to take a lot out of that as well."