Cricket fans left divided after illegal act helps Sydney Sixers to victory in WBBL

Amelia Kerr's bizarre move incurred a five-run penalty and cost the Brisbane Heat dearly.

Amelia Kerr, pictured here in the WBBL cricket comp.
Amelia Kerr caught the cricket ball with a towel and was hit with a five-run penalty in the WBBL. Image: Fox Cricket

There were bizarre scenes in the WBBL cricket comp on Tuesday night when the Sydney Sixers pipped the Brisbane Heat in a thriller on the back of five penalty runs they received. Maitlan Brown (21 not out off 15) and Mathilda Carmichael (28 not out off 20) got the Sixers home with just one delivery remaining in a pulsating run chase at Allan Border Field.

But the Heat probably would have won if not for an illegal act by Amelia Kerr that resulted in the Sixers being awarded five runs for free. Kerr was bowling late in the match when she caught a throw from the outfield with a towel in her hand.

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Kerr had whipped out the towel to dry her hands after the ball was hit to the deep, and kept it in her hands when she fielded the return throw. The spinner's actions are illegal under the laws of the game and resulted in five penalty runs being given to the Sixers by the on-field umpire.

The bizarre gaffe proved extremely costly for the Heat, who probably would have won if the Sixers were further behind. The incident proved divisive amongst fans, with some saying Kerr should've known the rule, and others questioning why the rule exists in the first place.

Kerr's unfortunate gaffe came after a brilliant knock of 64 off 44 with the bat, combining with Mignon du Preez (42 off 27) for their third half-century stand of the season. The Heat posted a formidable total of 7-176, with Charlie Knott blasting 29 from 10 deliveries at the death.

The Sixers were given a fast start by Ellyse Perry (20) after the star all-rounder had taken three wickets with the ball. Erin Burns made 35, whacking three sixes in her best knock of the summer, while Ash Gardner (36) chipped in before Brown and Carmichael provided the late heroics.

The result in Brisbane had big ramifications for the WBBL finals, with the Sixers moving to fifth on the ladder on 12 points - two behind Brisbane in fourth who haven't secured their finals berth yet. However the Sixers are well behind the Heat on net run rate, with both sides still to play the Sydney Thunder in their final match of the regular season.

Ellyse Perry, pictured here in action for the Sydney Sixers against the Brisbane Heat in the WBBL.
Ellyse Perry in action for the Sydney Sixers against the Brisbane Heat. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Adelaide Strikers on top of WBBL ladder

The Adelaide Strikers had earlier taken the outright lead on the WBBL ladder after a rescue mission by opener Laura Wolvaardt set up a thrilling three-run win over Sydney Thunder. Wolvaardt made a composed and classy 70 not out, which proved the difference after Adelaide were sent in to bat first.

The South African star combined with Megan Schutt (16 not out) to take 38 runs off the final three overs, lifting the defending champions to 7-121 after early wickets tumbled. Jemma Barsby then dismissed the dangerous Chamari Athapaththu in the first over for a duck, and Schutt snared Phoebe Litchfield (one) in a deep cover trap in the second.

The hosts were 5-53 after 14 overs until Tahlia Wilson (33 off 23) and Sammy-Jo Johnson (26 not out off 14) threatened to get their side home late in the innings. But Anesu Mushangwe (2-24) produced a craft last over to concede just five runs, clinching the win and restricting the Thunder to 7-118.

Darcie Brown took 1-15 in her return from a hamstring injury, playing in her first WBBL game of the season. The Strikers went to 18 points with the win - two clear of Perth Scorchers and three ahead of the Thunder.

with AAP

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