Wednesday, July 6, 2022

WBBL|07: Melbourne Stars beat Brisbane Heat

Led by young quicks Annabel Sutherland and Tess Flintoff, the Melbourne Stars attack did what no team has been able to since 2018 and kept the Brisbane Heat’s batting order to less than 100 runs through 20 overs.

The Stars shook off back-to-back losses and shone from the very first over.

Irishwoman Kim Garth tossed out lethal opener Georgia Redmayne just six balls into the first innings, breaking an opening partnership that has averaged 67 runs in WBBL|07.

Jess Jonassen’s decision to promote herself to third in the order didn’t come off as she might’ve hoped — she was the first of 20-year-old Sutherland’s three victims.

Sunday’s performance continued what has already been a summer to remember for Sutherland, who made her Test debut in the recent series against India.

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Not even Redmayne’s fellow opener Grace Harris, one of the competition’s form batters, had any answers for the exuberant Stars attack.

Flintoff bowled Harris cleanly on 28 runs — her second-lowest score of WBBL|07.

“I’ve just been trying to hit the top of the stumps and that was quite effective today,” said Flintoff, who was named player of the match.

“I’ve been working pretty closely with Clint with my slower balls, so again, the conditions really worked today with that.

“I’m very happy it came off.”

Elyse Villani (26 from 20 balls) put a sizeable dent in the Heat’s measly target of 95.

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Captain Meg Lanning showed her experience with a cautious batting display thereafter and when she partnered with Maia Bouchier — yet another young Star — the Melburnians ran out winners with eight wickets in hand and 20 balls remaining.

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Meg Lanning opened the batting in the Stars’ last game and managed only two runs but decided to keep herself in the top-order for the clash with the Heat.

The veteran of more than 100 T20Is has come under fire for modest performances with the willow in WBBL|07, having scored a combined total of only 21 runs across her last four hit-outs before Sunday. But her patient and unbeaten 27 runs on Sunday were instrumental.

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