An outstanding unbroken 96-run partnership between skipper Suzie Bates and middle-order batter Bridget Patterson propelled the Strikers to an outstanding allround win against the reigning WBBL champion under lights with an over to spare.
Patterson plundered the winning runs with a straight drive for four over spinner Jess Jonassen’s head, remaining unbeaten on 57 from 43 balls with eight boundaries. Player-of-the-match Bates batted through the innings for 55 not out from 52 balls, with five fours.
The Strikers, who beat Hobart Hurricanes and Perth Scorchers the previous weekend at Brisbane’s Allan Border Field, now have four wins from five games as they aim to regain a place in the finals after falling short last season. Having strengthened their squad and playing impressive team cricket, rather than relying on the superstars in their line-up, they will be aiming to continue their impressive run of form, starting with a second clash against the Heat on Sunday in Mackay from 3.30pm.
Adelaide ripped through the Heat’s middle-order and tail to claim the final seven wickets for just 23 - including three wickets from the last three balls - to dismiss Brisbane for 139 off 19.1 overs.
The Strikers put on a disciplined allround performance in the field, with only a superb 73 from Australian batting star Beth Mooney giving the Heat any hope. The wickets were shared around by Sophie Devine (2/21), Sarah Coyte and Tahlia McGrath (2/22) and Megan Schutt and Amanda-Jade Wellington (2/29 off four overs) as Adelaide caught well, keeping the Heat to what appeared a sub-par total.
Schutt started the Strikers’ win against Perth Scorchers with two maidens but on a quicker wicket and with a lightning outfield this week, her first ball of the game against Brisbane was cut for a boundary by Heat dynamo Grace Harris. The Strikers found the going tough in the power play, Brisbane reaching 0/49 from the opening six overs.
Mooney, the Heat’s highest runsorer of all time, looked in outstanding touch from the outset, hitting Schutt for successive boundaries to mid-wicket and through the covers, while Harris had more than her share of luck as she played and missed a few times and hit the ball uppishly but frustratingly out of reach.
A Mooney cover drive for four off Sophie Devine brought up the 50 from just 6.1 overs but, as is so often the case, when the Strikers needed a breakthrough, it was the superstar Kiwi allrounder who delivered. Harris, who had reached 20 from 21 balls, tried to force the pace and hit Devine straight to Lauren Winfield at cover.
Leg-spinner Amanda-Jade Wellington wrote herself into the record books when she claimed her 50th WBBL wicket, the second Striker to achieve to feat after Australian medium-pacer Schutt, who now has 55 scalps. Wellington, in her 60th match for Adelaide, deceived Aussie allrounder Jonassen (two) with a well-flighted wrong’un which she tried to drive but only skewed straight to Bates at mid-off.
Mooney reached her 50 from 32 balls but wickets continued to fall at the other end as Maddy Green (five) drove Coyte to Alex Price at mid-off. Laura Harris on-drove Wellington for a six but attempted to paddle Devine around the corner and was well caught by keeper Tegan McPharlin. McGrath, whose medium-pacers were so important in the Strikers’ two wins in Brisbane the previous week, slipped a full one straight through Sammy-Jo Johnson for three. Young gun New Zealand leg-spinner Amelia Kerr, a dangerous hitter, charged down the wicket at Wellington but was no match for a beautifully-flighted leggie from her Aussie rival, stumped by McParlin for two.
As wickets were falling around her, assured Mooney appeared to be playing on a different wicket, reaching 73 from 49 balls with seven boundaries. But, knowing she had to up the tempo, she tried a ramp shot off McGrath, only managing to find Wellington at short fine-leg. And Wellington was in it again when she held on to a smart catch in the gully when Delissa Kimmince (six) tried to reverse sweep Schutt, who finished her spell with two wickets in two balls when she caught-and-bowled Mikayla Hinkley for a golden duck. And it was a team hat-trick to finish the innings on 139 when Heat skipper Kirby Short (four) holed out to Patterson at mid-wicket.
The Strikers’ innings was off to the same start as the Heat’s - a square cut for four first ball, this time to Bates off left-arm spinner Jonassen. But the Strikers were suddenly under pressure when Devine, for a rare time struggling to find runs after being dismissed for six and a duck in Brisbane, tried to drive pace bowler Johnson but an outswinger took the edge and she was well caught in the gully by Kimmince for one.
McGrath, fresh from a matchwinning unbeaten 65 against Perth Scorchers in Brisbane, stroked the ball through covers for four to get off the mark, showing how well she was seeing the ball and she confidently lofted Johnson over mid-off for another boundary. A sweetly-struck on-drive for four from Kimmince was all class. And her timing was outstanding as she swept off-spinner Grace Harris to square-leg for four.
Bates joined the party as she used her feet to Jonassen and thumped her to the mid-wicket boundary and played a stunning square drive off Harris to the boundary.
McGrath greeted star Kiwi leggie Kerr with a pull shot for four from a short loosener but Kerr finished the over with a stunning wrong’un that bowled McGrath for 26 from just 16 balls.
Patterson was looking to get on with it as she drove medium-pacer Georgie Prestwidge over cover for four but after 10 overs the Strikers were 2/60 with plenty still to be done. Bates and Patterson kept the runs ticking over but didn’t have a big over until they took 14 from the 14th over, from Jonassen, to provide some relief to the tension on the Strikers’ bench.
Bates then thumped a Kerr full-toss over mid-on for four and Patterson plundered successive boundaries from Prestwidge and the Strikers were about to strike again.