Thunder star sets new WBBL record
The Sydney Thunder are still in the hunt to host this year’s WBBL grand final after a record-breaking display of spin bowling helped them upset the Scorchers by nine wickets.
Saturday’s result snaps a two-game losing streak and sees the Thunder move to 15 points – just one behind the Scorchers who have played an extra game – after they chased down the target of 117 with 23 balls to spare.
Finishing first is so important given the minor premiers advance straight through to the final and get to enjoy a few days off while the other three teams duke it out to qualify for the decider.
SPIN TO WIN
It looked for a while like Perth was on track to pile on the runs after openers Beth Mooney and Sophie Devine continued their hot form to have the visitors on 43 in the sixth over.
But Mooney’s dismissal sparked a stunning collapse as the Thunder’s spinners turned the screws and made it impossible to score, with Sam Bates conceding just six runs from her four overs – the most economical spell in WBBL history.
Lauren Smith (2-12 off four overs) also chipped in as the healthy crowd at Cricket Central saw the home side’s spinners take 6-47 from their 13 overs.
It was a great day for the hosts with experienced all-rounder Sammy-Jo Johnson becoming just the 10th bowler in WBBL history to take 100 wickets when she knocked over Devine.
Chamari Athapaththu then took control in the chase, hitting a stylish 77 not out after a horrible mix-up saw opening partner Phoebe Litchfield run out in the third over.
The Sri Lankan star and Thunder skipper Heather Knight (32 not out) put on an unbroken stand of 110 to set up a thrilling race for top spot.
Saturday’s result is far from catastrophic for the Scorchers who had won their previous four matches, but the loss opens the door for the chasing pack to overtake them in the race for an automatic grand final berth.
It was a strange afternoon for a team that prides itself on their batting prowess, with Amy Jones (37 off 16) the only one to get going, with the English star hitting their first six in the penultimate over.
The visitors put themselves in a position to launch after they reached 60 off 10 overs but the runs dried up after that with the Scorchers adding just 18 off the next 42 deliveries.