The Sixers’ finals chances are effectively over as the side faces a reprimand for a paperwork mix-up that blighted their six-wicket loss to the Melbourne Renegades.
Sixers youngster Hayley Silver-Holmes was brought back into the squad for the game against the out-of-contention Renegades but, because she’d been replaced on their list, she wasn’t eligible.
A fast-bowling allrounder, Silver-Holmes didn’t bat and the Sixers self-reported their mistake with her not taking the field for the second dig.
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The Sixers could be hit with a breach by the WBBL but it was unclear on Saturday night what the sanctions might be, with the league saying an update would be provided “in due course”.
Her absence was felt during the Renegades innings, with Sydney having to find four extra overs as the Renegades took advantage of a poor fielding effort to chase home the 4/166 total.
South Arfrican Renegade Lizelle Lee was brilliant, scoring 79 (45), ably supported by cameos from Amy Satterthwaite 17 (17) and Courtney Webb 46* (28).
Silver-Holmes was saved from having to bat by an opening stand of 104 runs by Alyssa Healy and Ellyse Perry which laid the foundations for Sydney to set a massive score, before two Molly Strano wickets in three balls ended their partnership.
“The WBBL is aware of an administrative error pertaining to player selection in the Sydney Sixers-Melbourne Renegades match on Saturday,” the WBBL said in a statement late Saturday night.
“The Sixers self-reported an issue relating to Hayley Silver-Holmes’ paperwork shortly after the Sixers-Renegades game had commenced. Silver-Holmes did not bat nor take the field for the Renegades’ run-chase.
“The WBBL will provide an update on the matter in due course.”
Just one run after the dismissal of Healy, Perry skied one from Strano towards cover. Enter the Renegades’ Courtney Webb, who ran back with the flight of the ball to take a grab Nick Riewoldt would be proud of over her right shoulder. Webb, a former Carlton AFLW player, showed her poise under the lights but undid her great work just a few balls later when spilling a much easier catch at deep long-off.
Lizelle Lee dragged her team to close to the finish line with a sublime nine fours and four sixes in her 45-ball 79. The South African kept her lowly side in a contest few would have expected when Sixers Healy and Perry rocketed the Sixers out of the blocks. By the time Lee headed for the bunker, the Renegades needed just a run a ball to secure a win that well and truly sets a cat among the pigeons in WBBL10.
DEVINE’S DEVASTATING KNOCK ON SCORCHERS RETURN
Perth remains well and truly in the hunt for a WBBL finals position after dispatching the floundering Hobart Hurricanes at North Sydney Oval.
Perth openers Beth Mooney and the returning Sophie Devine made short work of the Hurricanes total of 6/134, reaching the target with more than five overs to spare.
Devine smoked the last ball of the innings to reach 87 not out off 53 deliveries, supported ably by Mooney, unbeaten on 48 (36).
“We just wanted to win,” Devine said.
“Sometimes you forget your first job out there is to win the game.”
The mind-bending maths for the finals series would make Messrs Duckworth and Lewis blush but the Scorchers did their cause no harm with a handy win and boost to the net run rate.
The ‘Canes, officially out of contention, lost leading runscorer this season Rachel Priest (8) early but rebuilt through a 50-run partnership between Nicola Carey and Chloe Tryon.
Hobart hit the drinks break off the back of an 18-run over from Heather Graham but any hope of a decent Hurricanes score was diffused by Sam Betts in the 12th over, with two brilliant catches by keeper Beth Mooney and Sarah Glenn to remove both.
Fighting off a back injury, Scorchers skipper Devine returned in devastating form ahead of finals with a dominant 87 not out. The contrast was clearest when the experienced Kiwi dispatched two rank full tosses from young Hurricanes leggie Amy Smith for 10 in the eighth over. Her innings featured five sixes and eight fours.
Scorcher Betts effectively won the game for her side with her sublime over in the 12th. In the three overs prior, the ‘Canes had racked up 34 runs. Betts removed Carey by chasing her when she backed away, with an inside edge expertly caught by Mooney. Glenn then took hold of a high ball to remove Tryon to snuff out the Hurricanes’ chances of setting a big target.
Taneale Peschel was impossible to get away, going for just 13 runs in her four overs. A sharp catch from Chloe Piparo removed Rachel Priest, the Canes’ leading runscorer this season with the score on just nine. From there, Peschel bowled at all the crucial junctures to restrict the Hurricanes’ efforts like a python choking its prey.
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Batting powerhouse goes big again as Heat roll on
– Emma Greenwood
The Brisbane Heat have notched a sixth successive win to beat competition leaders Melbourne Stars and stake a claim for a third consecutive WBBL title.
After Stars young gun Tess Flintoff restricted the Heat to just two runs in the penultimate over, Laura Kimmince iced the game with consecutive boundaries to hand the Heat a three-wicket victory in one of the highest-quality games of the season.
It was the third consecutive starring performance at the death from Kimmince, who pummelled 19 runs from just five balls to seal the win.
The Stars posted a strong total of 151 in the top-of-the-table clash at Drummoyne Oval despite losing Australian captain Meg Lanning for a duck after just three balls.
But the Stars are loaded with talent and internationals and South African Mignon du Preez (51 off 38) and Englishwoman Natalie Sciver (33 off 27) stepped up to lead them to a more-than-competitive total.
“In the past I’ve always got going but I haven’t converted those starts,” du Preez said.
“Now I’m converting them into 50s but hopefully there’s one big score coming in the near future.”
The Heat also lost an early wicket, with Grace Harris dismissed in the third over but Jess Jonassen and Georgia Redmayne steadied the ship with a 49-run partnership before Redmayne and Georgia Voll combined for another 44 runs.
Redmayne was sensationally run out by Katherine Brunt, though, with the Heat’s run chase slowing in the next four-and-a-half overs until Kimmince strode to the crease.
The victory cements the Heat’s position in second place on the ladder and maintains their momentum in the back half of the season, marking them as genuine title contenders following several off-season changes.
After just their second loss of the season, the Stars will hold their position at the top of the table, regardless of the result of their final fixture against the Sydney Sixers on Sunday.
“Obviously we would have liked to keep the momentum going but even though we’ve lost two games, we still managed to take it all the way to the end,” du Preez said.
“The Renegades was a super over, and then today with four balls to spare, so there’s something that we’ve done really well this season is to keep on fighting all the way to the end.”
The Heat may have eventually conceded 151 runs but they were on the front foot after dismissing Aussie captain Meg Lanning in the opening over of the match. In sensational form, Lanning has not been out for a duck this season and her scalp was key to the Heat’s win.
Mignon du Preez blasted 51 off 37 balls to set up the Stars’ innings with a sensational knock after the early dismissal of captain Meg Lanning. Du Preez hit eight fours and a magnificent six in her innings, and was only dismissed by a catch from Grace Harris not far inside the long-on boundary as she tried to push the pace.
Grace Harris finished with just two wickets for the Heat but it was the double breakthrough in the 17th over that earns her the bowling spell of the match. With the Stars looking set to post a mammoth total, Harris dismissed internationals Annabel Sutherland (three off six balls) and Natalie Sciver 33 off 28), conceding just one run in a pivotal moment in the match.
“We want to finish the tournament on a high and get some momentum going into finals weekend, so hopefully we can pull off another fabulous team performance (against the Sydney Sixers) tomorrow.” – Mignon du Preez
THUNDER STORM INTO FINALS
– Emma Greenwood
Teen star Phoebe Litchfield has showed maturity beyond her years to lead the Thunder to a five-wicket win over the Adelaide Strikers that all but seals Sydney’s place in the WBBL finals.
Litchfield made just 16 runs (14 balls) but kept a cool head after the late loss of Australian vice-captain Rachael Haynes (30 off 23) to help the Thunder eclipse the Strikers’ total of 133 at Drummoyne Oval with just two balls remaining.
It was the second successive match in which Litchfield played a key role after her 46 off 36 deliveries in the Sydney derby earlier in the week almost led to an unlikely victory.
The Thunder remain in third place on the competition ladder after the win while the Strikers drop out of finals contention following the loss.
Haynes looked set to guide the Thunder home after an opening partnership of 44 between Tammy Beaumont (23 off 20) and Rachel Trenaman (38 off 40) set their innings up.
But she was stumped with one ball remaining in the penultimate over, leaving Litchfield and fellow young gun, Tahlia Wilson, 21, to get them home.
Thunder all-rounder Sammy-Jo Johnson said the team had full faith in the youngers to get Sydney home.
“After the way that Phoebe performed in our last game against the Sixers, you’d back her in any day of the week,” Johnson said.
The Strikers’ total seemed achievable, thanks in large part to the bowling of Johnson, whose spell of 3-25 – including the wicket of Katie Mack – helped pin down the Adelaide side.
With Mack (58 off 52 balls) having just brought up her half-century and Stafanie Taylor on 33 (29), the Strikers seemed poised to explode in the final overs.
But a mix-up led to Taylor being run out in the 17th over and the Strikers made just 24 runs in the final 3.2 overs, with the Thunder taking another three wickets down the stretch.
“It would have been nice to put a few more (runs) on the board and then they had a really good power play,” Mack said, lamenting early-season losses that cost the Strikers their finals chance.
Having watched the Melbourne Stars and Brisbane both passed 150 runs in Saturday’s early game at Drummoyne, Johnson believed the Strikers’ target was achievable.
“We knew that we’d bowled well, it was just about playing smart cricket shots and that would get us over the line,” Johnson said.
With Mack and Taylor putting together a promising partnership for the Strikers, a mix-up in the 17th over led to Taylor being run out just as she was set and looking to ramp up the tempo. Having reached 33 off 29 balls, the West Indian looked ready to explode in the final overs but ended up back in the pavilion.
She ultimately finished on the losing side but Mack’s 58 off 52 balls, which included five fours and a six, helped the Strikers post a competitive total. But trying to force the pace against Sammy-Jo Johnson, she scooped the ball to short fine leg and was caught by Sam Bates.
Sammy-Jo Johnson finished with 3-25 from her four overs, picking up the key wickets of openers Tahlia McGrath and Mack. The wicket of Mack was key after she reached her half-century and Johnson followed it up with the scalp of Madeline Penna for a duck in the same over to slow the Strikers in the final overs.
“I wouldn’t look just at this game, I’d look at a few games where we were pretty close and should have won earlier (in the season) and not left it to the last two games.” – Strikers opener Katie Mack laments her team’s missed semi-final opportunity.
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