Perth big-hitters, Adelaide pace to shape WBBL final
The battle between the Scorchers' vaunted opening pair and the Strikers' pace ace Darcie Brown promises fireworks in the WBBL|07 decider
26 November 2021, 09:44 AM AEST
After tormenting the competition's top-order batters throughout the Weber WBBL, Adelaide Strikers fast bowler Darcie Brown is setting her sights on the competition's best opening pair in Beth Mooney and Sophie Devine.
Fifteen of Brown's 19 wickets this season have come in the Powerplay, more than any other bowler in WBBL|07, and the 18-year-old quick will be put to the test against the tournament's leading run scorer Mooney and explosive allrounder Devine at Optus Stadium in Saturday night's final.
In tandem with Australia in-swing star Megan Schutt, Brown had the Renegades in dire trouble early in Thursday night's Challenger final and will go into the decider buoyed with confidence.
"Soph and 'Moons' are quality, they're key wickets for us, because we know they don't get out too often," Brown said after taking 2-9 in Thursday's nine-wicket win over the Renegades.
"So we'll just try and take our chance when we can and hopefully we get some chances.
"I'm looking forward to the battle, we know they're a pretty good side."
The Strikers played back-to-back matches during the week to advance while the Scorchers had the benefit off a week off in Perth to rest and prepare for what will be unfamiliar conditions at Optus Stadium, which lasted hosted a WBBL game in 2018.
It means they have played two more matches than their rivals, and had the quick turnaround of a flight to Perth on Friday following their Challenger win the night before.
But captain Tahlia McGrath believes the vastly different preparations will not impact her team.
"Everyone was full of energy at the airport," McGrath said.
"There's a lot of belief, there's a lot of fight in the group. It's a dream group to captain when everyone knows their role and performs. We've definitely got one more left in us.
"It's just about adapting quickly, reading the conditions early and going from there.
"There hasn't been a lot of women's cricket played at (Optus Stadium) as well, so I think it'll be fairly similar for both sides."
Speaking before the Challenger final on Thursday, Scorchers batter Chloe Piparo insisted her team had no preference who they met, nor would they be affected by the pressure of playing in front of what is hoped will be a bumper crowd at Optus Stadium.
"I don't know if there'll be any extra pressure, I think there'll be two teams going into the final that really want to win," Piparo said.
"We're just trying to take it all in our stride and not having too many expectations of crowd numbers and things like that, but hopefully the fans come out and we can get our first title."
When is it ?
Saturday, November 27, from 7.10pm AEDT
How can I watch?
The Final will be broadcast on free-to-air television on Channel 7, while Fox Cricket will simulcast the match, which can also be streamed via Kayo on the Cricket Australia Live app. For those who like their cricket served up on the radio, ABC Grandstand will cater to all your listening needs.
Cricket.com.au and the CA Live app will have live scores and highlights of EVERY major moment, as well as replays of every wicket and every boundary in the match centre, plus web, video and social coverage.
How can I be there?
Grab your tickets now! Tickets are on sale HERE and there is a bumper crowd expected at Optus Stadium.
Perth Scorchers: Sophie Devine (c, NZ), Samantha Betts, Mathilda Carmichael, Piepa Cleary, Ash Day, Amy Edgar, Heather Graham, Lisa Griffith, Marizanne Kapp (SA), Alana King, Lilly Mills, Beth Mooney, Taneale Peschel, Chloe Piparo
Adelaide Strikers: Tahlia McGrath (c), Jemma Barsby, Darcie Brown, Sarah Coyte, Meagan Dixon, Katie Mack, Tegan McPharlin, Dane van Niekerk (SA), Annie O’Neil, Bridget Patterson, Megan Schutt, Amanda-Jade Wellington, Laura Wolvaardt (SA)
Form (most recent first)
Perth Scorchers: WWWNRWWLWLWWNRLW
Adelaide Strikers: WWLWLWWWWLLLLNRWW
Perth Scorchers and Adelaide Strikers met in two tight encounters during the regular season.
Sophie Devine was the hero in their first showdown at Lilac Hill, sealing a Super Over victory for her team. She took just two balls to chase the 10 set by Adelaide Strikers, smacking back-to-back sixes off Megan Schutt.
It came after spinner Lilly Mills (2-18) helped restrict the Strikers as they pursued Perth's seemingly below-par total of 5-121.
Second time around at Karen Rolton Oval, Beth Mooney and Sophie Devine hit half-centuries as the Scorchers held off a gallant Strikers fightback led by Katie Mack to win by 12 runs.
Mack’s unbeaten 84 threatened to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in the final overs, but the Strikers fell shy of the Scorchers' 3-177.
The other head-to-head battle will be between Strikers opener Dane van Niekerk and her wife, Scorchers allrounder Marizanne Kapp. Kapp claimed the van Niekerk's wicket both times they met this season.
Leading run scorers
Perth Scorchers: Beth Mooney (528 at 52.80, SR: 132) and Sophie Devine (407 runs at 33.91, SR: 130.86)
Adelaide Strikers: Katie Mack (507 at 72.42, SR 117.36), Laura Wolvaardt (356 runs at 29.66, SR 124.47)
Leading wicket takers
Perth Scorchers: Lilly Mills (16 at 12.81, eco 6.83) and Alana King (16 at 16.75, eco 5.82)
Adelaide Strikers: Amanda-Jade Wellington (22 wickets at 15.72, eco 6.52), Darcie Brown (19 wickets at 16, eco 5.96)
Strengths and weaknesses
It goes without saying that Beth Mooney and Sophie Devine are the biggest strength of this Scorchers side. The team of the tournament opening pair have again been a force and while both finished the regular season on a quiet note, they are both big-game players.
Mooney was player of the match for the Brisbane Heat in both of their WBBL final wins, and you can expect she will again rise to the occasion on Saturday. With ball in hand, an attack featuring the fiery Marizanne Kapp and the spin of Alana King is a force to be reckoned with – but they had no answers for Katie Mack last time they met.
There was a big question mark over the Scorchers' middle-order and whether they could stand up if Devine and Mooney failed, but they acquitted themselves extremely well to get the Scorchers home against both the Stars and Sixers last weekend.
Strikers opener Katie Mack is in the form of her life, now sitting just 25 runs behind Mooney at the top of the runs tally. Her recent consistency is allowing South African Dane van Niekerk to play with freedom, knowing not only is her partner in red-hot form, and the Strikers have Laura Wolvaardt, Tahlia McGrath, Bridget Patterson and Maddie Penna to follow.
With the ball, the Strikers have three bowlers in the top 10 wicket takers, and Darcie Brown keeps finding her levels in her game. Combined with the economical Schutt, they are a perfect match for Mooney and Devine in the Powerplay.
After the Strikers' past two matches, it is hard to find fault in any area of their game, but consistency has been an issue at times; they started the tournament well, then endured a tough streak of four losses, before regaining momentum at the back end of the tournament.
They will also be playing their third game in four days and had to travel from Adelaide to Perth on Friday, while their opponent had a six-day break at home.
The Eliminator: Adelaide Strikers beat Brisbane Heat by eight wickets
The Challenger: Melbourne Renegades lost to Adelaide Strikers by nine wickets
The Final: Perth Scorchers v Adelaide Strikers | Optus Stadium | November 27 at 4.10pm local (7.10pm AEDT)
Grab your tickets or tune in on the Seven Network, Fox Cricket, Kayo, the CA Live app or listen on ABC radio