This article was written by Kristy Williams, a journalist with a fondness for Simpsons quotes.
he Adelaide Strikers returned to the winners list today, with a gritty 22 run win over the seventh placed Melbourne Stars at Casey Fields.
While the momentum fluctuated throughout, it was the Strikers who owned the key moments through clear leadership and a hunger that permeated through the entire team.
Stand-in skipper for the Stars, Erin Osborne, won the toss and sent the Strikers in; and it was the captain who struck first. The off-spinner removed Suzie Bates in her over for just 2, pinning the cut-happy batter back and removing her for the slightly obscure hit wicket.
From there, Tammy Beaumont (46 runs off 48 balls) and the explosive Sophie Devine (44 off 33) combined a steady, if unspectacular, partnership of 78 from 67 balls; with Devine looking particularly dangerous after two huge slog sweeps for six.
Some smart bowling from Georgia Elwiss (2/22 off 4 overs) pegged the run-rate back, but another impressive cameo from the in-form Bridget Patterson (22 off 17) saw the total climb to a very defendable 5-144.
In reply, the Stars got off to an impressive start, thanks to the lusty blade of Lizelle Lee. The powerful South African smacked 44 off 42 despite being dropped three time while her partner, Anna Lanning (24 off 34), was stoic in support but never really threatened to bust the game open.
Despite some poor bowling from the Strikers, the two batters couldn’t take full advantage and the pressure of a climbing run-rate saw Alex Price (2-21 off 4) snare the big breakthrough, beating Lee with a quicker one. Since getting her chance in the Strikers line-up, Price has been one of standout spinners in the competition, probing constantly for wickets while batters look to see off Amanda Wellington at the other end.
A brief cameo from Mignon du Preez (16 off 9) was the only other resistance the Stars provided, with Megan Schutt and Sophie Devine each taking two wickets as they cleaned up the very long tail. Despite a powerplay that promised so much, the middle order delivered so little, and eventually the Stars fell 22 runs short
Highlight: The two sixes off Sophie Devine’s bat went like bullets, and it signalled an exciting return to form for the New Zealand all-rounder.
Lowlight: After the departure of the brave Anna Lanning, the Stars collapsed; losing 6/30 in six overs in a display bereft of leadership.
Clutch play: Adelaide owned every single one of these; but the courage of Alex Price to toss it up after being driven hard for four from du Preez netted her a vital wicket in a tense situation.
Match-winner: Devine’s 44 and 2/10 are some pretty impressive statistics, but the ability of Price to come in when the match was on the line and execute every single ball was quite likely the difference in the game.
By the numbers
- 32 runs of Lizelle Lee’s 44 runs came in boundaries or sixes, and the stocky wicketkeeper certainly wasn’t worried about noodling the ball around.
- An astonishing 23 dots, 46 runs and 3 wickets from 8 overs of spin between Wellington and Price.
- While the batting may not always be steady, there are five Strikers bowlers going at 6 or less runs per over.
- 46.06% of the Stars runs this tournament have come from the blades of South Africans du Preez and Lee.