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So close yet so far - That's exactly what the Hurricanes will be thinking following their today's encounter against Adelaide Strikers. It took 48 matches in the ongoing Women's Big Bash League to find its first one-over eliminator which Adelaide Strikers won convincingly to garner two points. Thanks to the win, the Strikers have retained the second last points table keeping Hobart Hurricanes to the bottom of the table. The Hurricanes will have another opportunity to rise from the bottom as the two teams meet in a repeat encounter tomorrow. Despite the fact that both the teams are no longer in the run to qualify for the next round, there was no real drop in intensity from either of the sides. We expect it to stay the same in the next match as well and another nail-biting encounter is certainly on the cards.
With three wins in eleven games, the Strikers have seven points in their kitty and are placed at the seventh position in the points table. Even a win in all their remaining matches won't be enough for their qualification to the playoffs. However, as evident in their last match, they will still try hard - to both avoid the wooden spoon and finish as high in the ladder as possible.
Batting first against Hobart Hurricanes in their last match, their innings was all about the pair of Sophie Devine and Tahila McGrath. Suzie Bates was dismissed early in the third over of the match before McGrath took over the proceedings. The partnership between McGrath and Devine lasted for a little over eleven overs in which they accumulated 105 runs. While the batswomen coming in next failed to put any pressure whatsoever on the Hurricanes, Devine continued to be severe. It was heartbreaking to see her missing her hundred by just one run as she remained not-out and carried her bat through.
Considering the way the Hurricanes had batted in the competition before, it should have been an easy total to defend for their bowlers. However, their opening bowlers in Megan Schutt and Danielle Hazel were erratic upfront. Sarah Coyte happened to be their only bowler who looked effective against Hurricanes' batting lineup. She gave away just 32 runs in her four overs and picked up three wickets in the process. Amanda-Jade Wellington also bowled well beautifully as she kept her end tight and returned with miserly figures of 4-0-26-1.
Suzie Bates, Sophie Devine, T McGrath, B Patterson, Amanda Wellington, T McPharlin, Megan Schutt, S Betts, S Coyte, Danielle Hazell, A Price.
It was only the second occasion when Hobart Hurricanes scored as many runs as they did in their last encounter. The poor batting performance of their top and middle order has kept them to the bottom of the table making them perfect candidates of getting the wooden spoon. A win in their next match will take them ahead of the Strikers due to their better net run rate and that's exactly what they'll be aiming for.
Coming into to bat after conceding 189, there were plenty of questions waiting to be answered as the Hurricanes' batting lineup hadn't lived up to their expectations since scoring a record total in the first few matches of the tournament, against Melbourne Stars. Similar to that day, Smriti Mandhana played a terrific innings upfront, smashing all of the Strikers' bowlers, as she scored one of the fastest fifties of the BBL this season.
They, however, soon lost wickets in a heap and were reduced to 69 for 4 and the chances of even getting in the vicinity of the target looking remote. Assisted with the little cameos from Hall and Maloney, Georgia Redmayne batted beautifully as they steadily cruised to the target. They needed eight off the final over but could score only seven which led to the tie-breaker.
Earlier with the ball, Katelyn Fright and Heather Knight were ultra-expensive which allowed Strikers to score such a huge total. The duo together conceded 83 runs in their six overs combined picking up just one wicket with Fright alone conceding 34 off her two overs without any success. Their bowlers will need to fare a lot better in the next game especially considering the fragility of their batting order.
Smriti Mandhana, Georgia Redmayne, Heather Knight, Corinne Hall, Stefanie Daffara, Ash Day, Sasha Moloney, Veronica Pyke, Meg Phillips, Brooke Hepburn, Alex Hartley.
The first game between Adelaide Strikers and Hobart Hurricanes was perhaps the best game of this edition of Big Bash League. From excellent bowling to powerful hitting, it included everything a cricket fan could have asked for. The win would certainly have imbibed some confidence in Hobart Hurricanes who are struggling to rise up the ladder. Although Adelaide Strikers, too, haven't done anything significant in the tournament either, they've played just a little better than the Hurricanes which makes them favorites to win the upcoming encounter between the two teams.