Thursday, February 2, 2023

Adelaide Strikers soar to maiden WBBL Title

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The Adelaide Strikers have stormed to their maiden Weber WBBL Championship with an inspired 10-run victory over the Sydney Sixers at North Sydney Oval on Saturday.

Runners-up last season and also in WBBL|05, the Strikers backed up a brilliant win over the Brisbane Heat in the Challenger on Thursday night to soar to ultimate WBBL glory for the first time.

The Final pitted the top two teams on the WBBL|08 ladder against one another in front of a packed crowd in perfect conditions at North Sydney, and they did not disappoint.

Adelaide’s vaunted bowling attack once again proved the difference. The Strikers defended a modest total of 147 on what looked a batting-friendly pitch as all six of Adelaide’s bowlers claimed at least one wicket, dismissing the Sixers for 137 by the final ball of the match.

Electing to bat first, a solid opening partnership of 51 shared between Katie Mack (31) and Laura Wolvaardt (15) laid the foundation for Adelaide’s innings as the pair crushed eight boundaries between them.

Mack in particular looked on song early and joined an exclusive club by surpassing 2,000 career WBBL runs, inclusive of her previous stint with the Melbourne Stars.

Both were dismissed in the space of six balls however through the seventh and eighth overs which quelled Adelaide’s hot start.

Captain Tahlia McGrath (24) smashed two fours and a towering six over mid-wicket, punishing a free hit, but couldn’t make the most of her start.

Instead, it was Player of the Final Deandra Dottin (52*) who took charge and marched to her third half-century of the tournament. The West Indian was largely starved of the strike during the Powerplay where Adelaide shakily lost 2-7, but she still managed to muscle two maximums and another six fours from just 37 deliveries to lift Adelaide to 5-147.

Her impact extended into the second stanza as Dottin dismissed former Striker Suzie Bates (10) and Player of the Tournament Ashleigh Gardner (0) in a double-wicket maiden during the fifth over to cement Adelaide’s ascendency.

The hosts rallied through a 60-run partnership between Ellyse Perry and the retiring Nicole Bolton (32). But once Darcie Brown (2-15) intervened in the 15th over, clean bowling Perry for 33, it spelled the beginning of the end for the Sixers.

Wickets fell regularly thereafter all the way to and including the final ball, as Adelaide sent off respected wicket-keeper Tegan McPharlin in style in her final WBBL match and ended Assistant Coach Jude Coleman’s successful four-season stint with the club.

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