Against the odds, the Strikers fought back to pull off an incredible upset over the Perth Scorchers, finishing their season on a high note. Despite being knocked out of finals contention earlier in the weekend, the Strikers had plenty to prove, no more so than when faced with former teammate, Sophie Devine.
The efforts of Amanda-Jade Wellington, combined with contributions from Laura Wolvaardt, Katie Mack and Madeline Penna saw the Strikers finish their innings with a hard-fought 6/159, a necessary total against a team containing the likes of Devine and Beth Mooney.
Mack proved once again, her ability at the top of the order, posting a poised 32 before Sarah Glenn had her trapped LBW. Wolvaardt (37) held her nerve against a forceful Perth bowling attack, while Penna (27) continued her breakout form.
When Wolvaardt fell at 3/77, Wellington wasted no time getting to work. The leg-spinner smacked five boundaries as she cruised to 48 from 25 deliveries. Despite falling just short of her best WBBL score (55), her contributions were vital in guiding the Strikers to a defendable total.
Like they’ve done so many times this season, Sophie Devine and Beth Mooney formed an unbreakable opening partnership. Stars of the game in their own right, the pair who were both recruited to the Scorchers for WBBL06, proved unmoveable early as they posted 118 for the first wicket.
With the Scorchers requiring 42 from the remaining 37 deliveries with 10 wickets in hand, the Strikers appeared in trouble. That was until a Tahlia McGrath ball got the better of Devine, which she sent sky high and falling into the safe hands of Tegan McPharlin. Amy Jones followed not long after, when she edged an Alex Price delivery to the keeper in the next over.
Not wanting to miss out on the fun, Darcie Brown joined in the action four balls later, and it was Beth Mooney’s time to go. Mooney’s mistimed cut shot to Megan Schutt at extra-cover meant the Strikers claimed three wickets in three overs, keeping themselves in the game.
Fresh off of her cameo with the bat, Wellington stepped up to bowl with the Scorchers now requiring 30 from the final three overs. It took just two balls to claim Chloe Piparo, attempting to scoop the ball over the keeper’s head. With the game on a knifes edge, McPharlin took no chances, running back to collect the delivery at full stretch.
The momentum had well and truly shifted, and when the destructive arm of Bridget Patterson fielding at long-off, took the bails off claiming Matilda Carmichael, and the Scorchers fifth wicket, it was anyone’s game to win.
With a single over remaining and the Scorchers still requiring nine runs for victory, it was an obvious choice as to who would bowl the final six deliveries. With the ball in Sarah Coyte’s hands, a dot ball and three singles followed, as the Scorchers struggled against the top wicket-taker in the competition.
Needing five off the final ball, the Strikers remained in the hunt, as Katie Mack collected in the field, returning the ball to the bowler as Coyte took the bails off, claiming a final wicket, and victory, for her team.