Strikers hold on for another thriller!

This article was written by Kristy Williams – a journalist with a love of Simpsons quotes.

The Strikers won another thriller yesterday, sneaking over the line against the Scorchers with a ball to spare at the beautiful Treager Park in Alice Springs.

In a shortened 16 over game the Scorchers could only manage 9-87, losing wickets consistently throughout their innings before a Suzie Bates masterclass guided the Strikers home despite a few small hiccups along the way.

Adelaide skipper, Suzie Bates, won the all-important toss and elected to bowl first without hesitation on a wicket expected to give plenty of assistance to seamers.

The opening pair of Megan Schutt and Sophie Devine were perfectly set-up to take advantage of the conditions, extracting plenty of swing and movement off the pitch. The two speedsters took 2/20 from their four over stint together, and it didn’t get much better from there for the Scorchers, who lost wickets at consistent two over intervals.

Despite two fantastic direct-hit runouts, some poor ‘keeping lead to several missed opportunities and a few extra runs; but the seamers all rose to the occasion, conceding just five an over on average and taking six of the wickets.

It was only rising star Heather Graham (19 off 17 balls) who looked comfortable at the wicket; the lone Scorcher to hit better than a run-a-ball in a disappointing team total of 87 off their allotted 16 overs.

In reply, despite a first ball duck to Tammy Beaumont in the first over, the Strikers looked in reasonable control throughout, thanks to a steady partnership of 44 runs off 50 balls from the experienced duo of Suzie Bates (49* off 47) and Sophie Devine (18 off 25).

A calamitous run-out saw Devine depart just when it looked like the Strikers had a firm grip on the Faith Thomas Cup, and some tight bowling from Emma King (1/13 off 3) and Heather Graham (0/15 off 3) put the pressure back on the batting side.

In the end, the class of Suzie Bates and some sloppy fielding from the Perth side meant it was the Strikers who were again to prevail in a tight game, getting over the line on the second last ball.

Highlight: The pick-up and throw from Tahlia McGrath that resulted in a direct hit runout off her own bowling was a fantastic piece of fielding and also removed the incredibly dangerous Katherine Brunt.

Lowlight: Two misfields from English international Nat Sciver in the last over meant the Strikers were able to chase down the total despite losing a wicket with just two balls remaining.

Clutch play: Megan Schutt was fantastic with the ball in hand, conceding just 18 runs off her four overs, but it was her crucial single on the second last ball that snared the win for the Strikers in a pressure situation.

By the numbers

  • 47.91% of the first half of the Strikers batting innings were dot balls.
  • Despite stroking four half centuries and being the competition’s third leading runscorer, Elyse Villani’s last three innings have yielded just 33 runs.
  • 78 balls between Suzie Bates’ first boundary and her second, despite the captain carrying her bat for a classy 49*.
  • Fifth position on the ladder for the Scorchers now, after dropping a match the commentary team dubbed a ‘four point game.’

(Darren England/AAP)