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McGrath 'maturing' after Super League stint

28 October 2019

Tahlia McGrath in action for the Strikers

Adelaide Strikers allrounder Tahlia McGrath is capitalising on confidence gained from her maiden T20 stint in the United Kingdom, outshining her vastly more experienced international teammates during a superb weekend with bat and ball.

McGrath starred in both her disciplines as the Strikers picked up back-to-back wins at Allan Border Field during the Brisbane Rebel WBBL Festival Weekend, toppling the Hobart Hurricanes by three runs on Saturday before cruising to a seven-wicket win over the Perth Scorchers on Sunday.

Tahlia McGrath's unbeaten innings v Perth

Pace bowler McGrath took 1/12 from her four overs against the Hurricanes, taking the key wicket of England captain Heather Knight, as the Strikers defended a below-par 8/113.

On Sunday, she came to the middle four balls into the chase after the early loss of captain Suzie Bates for eight and kept her cool as Sophie Devine (0) and Bridget Patterson fell around her.

She steadied before unleashing, finding the boundary eight times and clearing it twice in her 46-ball 65 not out, sharing an unbeaten 95-run stand with England import Lauren Winfield (24no) as the Strikers cruised home in the 15th over.

McGrath, who played the most recent of her five matches for Australia during the 2017 Ashes on home soil, has battled her share of injuries in her career, including a back concern that restricted her bowling loads last summer.

But a strong pre-season, including time with the National Performance Squad, secured a place on Australia A's tour of the United Kingdom in July before the Lancashire Thunder came knocking.

It was the 23-year-old's first contract with an overseas T20 franchise but the South Australian made the most of the opportunity, building up to a stunning performance in the Thunder's final match of the tournament against the Surrey Stars when she pummelled 41 runs from just 19 deliveries.

McGrath made her ODI debut against South Africa in Coffs Harbour in November 2016, and her Test debut against England one year later, but injuries and selection have since seen her remain outside the Australian squad.

But her continued presence in the National Performance Squad and her inclusion in the Australia A sign is a strong indication she remains in the thoughts of national selectors.

Speaking on Channel Seven's coverage of the AB Field matches on Sunday, former England captain Charlotte Edwards, an assistant coach with the Strikers, noted the increased confidence in McGrath's cricket since her return from playing in the UK.

"She's proper talented with bat and ball and I think we're starting to see how she's maturing as a cricketer," Edwards said.

"I think the Super League really helped her this summer, going over to England, not just as a cricketer but as a person.

"She's a much more confident person and she's a big player for us.

"She rang me before she took the offer (with Lancashire) and I said to her, 'Don't have any regrets at the end of your career that you didn't do this'.

"And she said to me that it's the best thing she's done, which I think tells you a lot about her at the moment, she's much more confident."

The Strikers’ next assignment is back-to-back matches against the Brisbane Heat in Mackay this weekend.