Cricket fans and commentators have been left shell-shocked after South Australia produced an all-time choke to lose the Women's National Cricket League final against Tasmania on Saturday night. South Australia needed just four runs off the final over with five wickets in hand, but lost all five wickets in staggering scenes.
Sarah Coyte produced an over for the ages, taking three wickets and a runout to seal back-to-back WNCL titles for Tasmania. Coyte bowled Annie O'Neil (28 from 20) off the first ball of the over before getting South Australia skipper Jemma Barsby (28 from 17) stumped two balls later.
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South Australia were still in the box-seat, needing three from three deliveries, but Coyte then ran out Amanda-Jade Wellington for one, knocking the ball back onto the stumps at the non-striker's end in her follow through. Coyte then trapped Ella Wilson lbw on the second-last ball, before Anesu Mushangwe was run out by Elyse Villani on the final delivery after only making one run.
Coyte finished with 4-30 and was named player of the match for her incredible final over. The dramatic scenes capped a thrilling final in which both sides had to navigate rain delays and had their noses in front at different stages under the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern system.
"It was really bizarre. I don't think I've ever come off (for rain) that much in one game before," Coyte said. "Easily the best game I've been a part of. The ebbs and flows. You can't even replicate a game like that.
Coyte said she was calm at the start of the final over and admitted her reflex runout was actually an accident. "I actually didn't mean to hit it on to the stumps. I just wanted to stop it," she said.
"It's an ongoing joke that I don't field off my own bowling. It is lucky I even got a touch to it."
Tasmania are just the second team in WNCL history to win back-to-back titles, leaving South Australia runners-up for the second year running. "It's pretty raw. It was an unbelievable finish," Barsby said.
"Unfortunately we couldn't get across the line. We need to come back bigger and better next year."
Here's the final over of the WNCL Final. South Australia start it needing four runs with five wickets in hand, and Tasmania win by a run after bowling SA out. Unreal scenes #WNCLFinal pic.twitter.com/c0n4x07YrX
— Ricky Mangidis (@rickm18) February 25, 2023
Cricket world in disbelief over crazy WNCL final
Villani had earlier led Tasmania to 264 from their 50 overs, scoring a brilliant 110 from 126 balls. It was her third century in her past four innings.
Villani also hit 111 not out in last season's final to help her side secure a first WNCL title. She shared a crucial 139-run stand with Naomi Stalenberg (75 off 89) after the pair came together at 3-105 in the 21st over.
South Australia's chase was marred by a number of delays due to rain, with Courtney Webb making an impressive 83. Her departure in the 42nd over left South Australia at 5-185, before Barsby and O'Neil dragged them back into the game.
South Australia were ahead on DLS when the covers came on again with six overs to go. When play resumed they needed 23 from the final 18 balls under the adjusted target.
Unfortunately they fell two runs short, leaving cricket fans and commentators gobsmacked. Social media lit up over the crazy final over, with many praising Coyte for her heroics and many more criticising South Australia's capitulation.
— Andy Maher (@AndyMaherDFA) February 25, 2023
The most remarkable finish I’ve ever seen. Maybe in any sport, at any level.
By crikey. That’ll be talked about forever.@TasmanianTigers win back to back #WNCL finals in the most extraordinary of circumstances.@abchobart@abcsport
— Chris Rowbottom (@chrisroww) February 25, 2023
Woeful. Needing 3 to win getting stumped…what madness.
— Brad Price (@BigBomber) February 25, 2023
What a shocking choke
— TSKS (@thewayforward42) February 25, 2023
A wild game to finish the WNCL season. Congrats to Tasmania for winning the WNCL. It's refreshing to see a different team win for a change. :) #WNCLFinal
— Alex Sar #DonTheSash (@alexmatthewsar) February 25, 2023
Says jokingly before the final over ‘Tassie are a chance if they take 5 wickets in the final over’ 🧐 That was 1 of the all time great finishes to a cricket game. If not the greatest.
— Aaron Ayers (@aaronayers81) February 25, 2023
— Marcus Bayswater (@MarcusBayswater) February 25, 2023
— SM (@supertusker) February 25, 2023
— Jeff Sheppard (@Orca73) February 25, 2023
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