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|Sammy Jo Johnson||0||5||0||0||0.00|
|Sammy Jo Johnson||4.0||0||37||2||9.25|
We are finally approaching the knockouts in the Women's Big Bash League with just six more matches to go in the first round. Three of those matches are to be played on 12th January with other three spread across 13th and 14th. Remarkably, only two of the six matches are insignificant as far as qualification scenarios are concerned. One of those two matches will be played at Cairns on 12th January with Brisbane Heat taking on Sydney Thunder. Both the sides have already qualified for the semifinals and we might well see a couple of key players rested from both the sides. However, momentum plays an important role in T20s and both the sides will want to march into knockouts with a win behind them and no respite is expected from either of the sides.
Brisbane Heat have had a couple of matches with mixed results in the build-up to this match. They defeated Melbourne Stars comprehensively by 7 wickets on Thursday but faced a humiliating loss at the hands of Melbourne Renegades in the match before that.
After KL Short elected to bat first on an up and down batting wicket, their bowlers made merry as they removed three Stars' batswomen inside the powerplay. Sammy-Jo Johnson and Jess Jonassen were exceptional upfront and ended up picking five wickets between them. The final nails in the coffin, however, were drilled by Delissa Kimmince who picked up four wickets for 18. Almost every bowler to pick up the ball contributed well, be it by picking wickets or keeping the things tight, as they reduced Stars for just 88.
It shouldn't have been a tricky chase in spite of a tricky surface and it wasn't one either. Although they lost Beth Mooney quite early in the chase, Sammy-Jo Johnson and Jess Jonassen ensured that they cruised to the required total. They overhauled the total with more than 11 overs to go and 7 wickets in hand.
Grace Harris, Beth Mooney, Sammy Jo Johnson, Kirby Short, Jess Jonassen, Josie Dooley, Laura Harris, Delissa Kimmince, Laura Wolvaardt, Jemma Barsby, Georgia Prestwidge.
Melbourne Renegades' 4-match winning streak came to halt when they faced Sydney Thunder in their last encounter. The win took Thunder to the top of the table with Sydney Sixers right behind them. They have 19 points due to the virtue of 9 wins with a superb net run rate of .531.
Despite being part of 13 matches, the Thunder bowlers didn't show any signs of fatigue as they put up an inspiring performance on a decent batting wicket against the Renegades. Their bowlers did a praiseworthy job especially considering the way they restricted Renegades after the women in red got off to a fine start.
Stephanie Taylor, Nicola Carey, and Belinda Vakewara bowled miserly spells and picked up important wickets to restrict Renegades to just 139. Although they lost Rachel Priest and Rachel Haynes early in the chase, experienced Alex Blackwell ensured a smooth sail for Thunder. Thunder eventually won the match with five balls to spare and six wickets in hand.
Rachel Priest, Rachael Haynes, Naomi Stalenberg, Alex Blackwell, Harmanpreet Kaur, Nicola Carey, Stafanie Taylor, Rachel Trenaman, Lisa Griffith, Sam Bates, Maisy Gibson.
It's a dead-rubber and won't have any impact on the qualification scenarios but this game will certainly govern who among the Thunder and Heat finishes higher on the ladder. Finishing higher in the ladder could be of slight psychological advantage along with the momentum garnered by winning. The two teams have had a similar kind of campaign so far in the tournament. Thunder performed exceptionally well in their most-recent encounter and emerged victorious when they met Brisbane Heat last time in the tournament which should instill a lot of belief among the players. Therefore, we think that Sydney Thunder are better placed to win the upcoming encounter.
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