Haynes hits highest note in WBBL career

It's only four matches in, but this season is already shaping as Rachael Haynes' best in the WBBL yet

In the toughest conditions, Rachael Haynes stood tallest.

On screens around the country, Penrith’s Howell Oval looked a treat to play cricket on. But the Sydney Thunder and Melbourne Stars Rebel WBBL players faced a different reality, having to contend with stifling heat that knocked more than one player for six on Saturday.

Stars batter Anna Lanning was visibly struggling as she toiled to a handy 35 off 41 deliveries at the top of the order, and she wasn’t the only one.

Haynes on the ball in stellar innings

But Thunder opener Haynes found a way to dig deep and produce her best result of what's been an impressive WBBL season to date – an unbeaten knock of 78 off 51 balls.

"That was absolutely stifling," she said in a post-match interview on the live stream.

"Even if I think about playing in India and things like that – there was just pure heat, there was no relief from the wind or anything, so it was really tough conditions.

"I think we were probably a little bit sloppy in the field (on Saturday), a couple of catches went down which we really should take at this level.

"I don’t know if that was from a bit of fatigue or the weather or what, but I think that’s probably one big thing we could really work on going forward."

The 30-year-old combined with new opening partner Rachel Priest for a 95-run stand to set the foundations for the lime green team’s third win of the season and a share in top spot on the ladder.

Haynes and Priest form formidable partnership

Haynes said the partnership – which has put on stands of 12, 4, 86 and 95 so far this season – was starting to find its rhythm.

"We’re very different players, but I think we’ve worked out what works for each of us and how to support each other as well in trying to do what we’re doing," she said. 

"For now, it’s so far, so good."

It won’t come as a surprise for any of Haynes’ teammates or supporters that when talented batter - who was acting Australia captain during the recent Women's Ashes - gets going, so do the Thunder.

In each match she has scored a half-century, the Thunder have gone on to win.

It started with a team-high hit of 55 in an 11-run win over the Renegades at North Sydney Oval, and she produced again in the Border Bash in Albury last Tuesday, making 54 off 33.

Haynes steals the show at Border Bash

The only time she has failed to reach the mark was in the Sydney Smash on December 10, when she was caught out on 17 from 18 balls.

Haynes’ WBBL|03 campaign is already shaping up as her best yet – from her 29 matches across the opening two seasons, she only reached a half-century on one occasion, back in the first summer of the competition.

She made 350 runs in WBBL|01 and 264 in WBBL|02, but already has 204 runs to her credit after the opening four matches this summer.

Haynes attributes her rich vein of form to a stronger mindset, rather than any technical changes she has made to her game.

"I think it really is just a mindset thing, and that’s probably the biggest area of my game I neglected when I was younger,” the 30-year-old said.

"The last couple of years, I spent a lot of time working on that and I guess I’m reaping the benefits at the moment.

"I batted with a little bit of luck (on Saturday), but when things are going your way, they go your way."

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