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Things are beginning to clear out as we approach the last few games in the league stage of the ongoing Women's Big Bash League. A win for Melbourne Renegades against Brisbane Heat has made things more interesting with three teams fighting for the final two slots in the playoffs. Renegades Still have three matches remaining and two more wins in those will confirm their semi-final berth. They meet Sydney Thunder in their next encounter on 8th January at Sydney. With plenty at stake for the Renegades, we expect them to come out all guns blazing and with Thunder already in pretty good form, it promises to be a thrilling contest.
Thunder's first fixture against Melbourne Stars was washed out due to rain and the disappointment was apparent on their faces. They turned that disappointment into joy as they defeated Melbourne Stars in their next fixture thereby qualifying for the semifinals.
The surfaces in this Big Bash League have all been pretty sluggish. It wasn't any different in their last game too and their bowlers ensured that no easy runs were given away. Although their opening bowlers, Suzie Bates and Lisa Griffith, failed to make early inroads into the Stars' lineup, they were pretty economical upfront. The pressure build by them induced wickets in the middle overs. Nicola Carey and Maisy Gibson were the pick of the bowlers and picked up five wickets between them. Carey picked up two for 22 whereas Gibson picked up 3 wickets conceding the same number of runs.
Chasing a total of just 118, the Thunder did not get the start they were looking for and soon found themselves in trouble with six wickets down for just 72 runs on the board. It was the brilliant effort of Nicola Carey with the bat as well which took them across the line on the final ball of the match. She scored 39 off 22 deliveries and was awarded player of the match for her all-around effort.
Rachael Haynes, Rachel Priest, Naomi Stalenberg, Harmanpreet Kaur, Alex Blackwell, Stafanie Taylor, Nicola Carey, Rachel Trenaman, Lisa Griffith, Sam Bates, Belinda Vakarewa.
A convincing win against Brisbane Heat not only kept Renegades alive in the tournament but also made them one of the front-runners in the race for the final two playoff spots. Due to the virtue of that win, they occupied the fourth spot on the ladder displacing Perth Scorchers.
Batting first, Danielle Wyatt and Sophie Molineux got them off to a terrific start the pair imposed themselves on Heat's bowlers. When they lost their first wicket in the form of Molineux, they looked all set for a mammoth total with six overs remaining and nine wickets in hand. However, a couple of quick dismissals thereafter, which included the wicket of Danielle Wyatt stalled their momentum as they were restricted to 143.
Despite the slowdown late in their innings, it was still a decent total to defend. The combination of Tahuhu and Strano was impressive as they got rid of five Heat women. Brown, with her three wickets for 17 runs, delivered the knockout punch as they dismissed Brisbane Heat for 118.
Sophie Molineux, Danielle Wyatt, Emma Inglis, Amy Satterthwaite, Jess Duffin, Claire Koski, Courtney Webb, Maitlan Brown, Molly Strano, Georgia Wareham, Lea Tahuhu.
Although the Thunder won their last match, they displayed plenty of vulnerabilities which could be exploited by good teams going into the business end of the tournament. They've had a dicey recent past where they've lost more often than they've won. Renegades, on the other hand, are having a dream run and have now won four matches in a row. They have the momentum with them and given the way they've done in their last few matches, they go in as favorites to win the upcoming encounter.