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Match Report: Strikers v Thunder

10 November 2021

The Strikers and Thunder’s meeting at Karen Rolton Oval under lights shaped as a must-win for both, with Adelaide needing to find a way back onto the winner’s list and the visitors looking to begin a climb up the standings.

After winning the toss and electing to bat, Adelaide’s opener pair of Dane Van Niekerk and Katie Mack took to the field under dark clouds threatening rain. Runs were hard to come by early, but when the partnership was finally broken, 65 runs had accumulated on the scoreboard at a rapid rate.

Seeming to take Mack’s dismissal personally, Van Niekerk hammered the following over from Deepti Sharma for 22 runs, including three massive sixes over mid-wicket to take her to a second half-century of the tournament. Not to be outdone, fellow international Laura Wolvaardt added her own 54 crucial runs to the Strikers total, including three huge sixes and two timely fours.

By the end of the innings, Adelaide’s top order had combined for 176, issuing the Thunder a difficult task. Openers Tahlia Wilson and Smriti Mandhana found the boundary early on before Mandhana was caught in the second over, deceived in flight by the returning Jemma Barsby.

As the overs ticked over, the required run rate grew higher and Sydney’s hope of a victory grew smaller. Sydney’s misery continued as veteran Sammy-Jo Johnson was caught and bowled by Megan Schutt for two runs, leaving the unenviable equation of needing 80 runs from five overs.

English International Issy Wong took on the challenge, crushing a remarkable 43 from 17 deliveries in an innings that lit up the Oval brighter than even the floodlights could manage.

However, Adelaide’s all-round performance proved too strong for Sydney, with the Strikers emerging 18-run victors in a game they will hope generates plenty of momentum with a packed schedule on the immediate horizon.

Speaking post-game, Player of the Match Laura Wolvaardt said that the victory was significant for Adelaide’s WBBL campaign.

“We spoke about losing four on the trot and coming back hard at this one and I’m really glad it worked out. But it's still a long way to go, so hopefully we can sneak into the top four still.”

The Strikers have little time to rest, with a clash against Sydney Sixers under 24 hours away. The Sixers currently sit fourth on the ladder and are coming off a tough loss against Brisbane on Tuesday.