Strikers edge Heat in WBBL final rematch

Rob Forsaith
·3-min read

Brisbane Heat have tumbled out of the WBBL's top four after losing their final rematch against Adelaide Strikers, but the defending champions insist belief remains strong as they hunt a third straight title.

A polished fielding display, including a remarkable rebounded catch from Tahlia McGrath, helped Adelaide defeat Brisbane by 18 runs at North Sydney Oval.

Sydney Sixers defeated Hobart Hurricanes by nine runs at the same venue later on Saturday, extending their undefeated start to the season to claim top spot on the ladder.

Saturday's other early game was a drama-laden boilover at Hurstville Oval, where last-placed Melbourne Renegades toppled Sydney Thunder by two runs to record their first win of the season.

It underlined the unpredictability of the Twenty20 competition, which is being played entirely in a Sydney hub after an off-season full of player movement between clubs.

The new-look Heat - minus Beth Mooney, Sammy-Jo Johnson and retired captain Kirby Short - have claimed one victory from their opening six games, although two were washed out and there was a rain-affected loss to Thunder.

The Strikers posted a total of 8-153 on Saturday.

Georgia Redmayne (65) and Maddy Green (25) guided the Heat to 0-78 at the halfway point of the chase, but the latter's run out ignited a collapse of 8-50 to finish on 8-135.

"It's quite a long tournament, so I wouldn't read too much into the table at this point," Redmayne said.

"There's plenty of games to go and I wouldn't write us off yet.

"We have the belief that we can defend that title. We've got the skill within our group, the diversity in our bowling, and power in our batting - it's just trying to get it to all come together."

The highlight of Adelaide's win was an astonishing dismissal of Amelia Kerr, who looked to club a full toss over mid-wicket.

A scrambling Madeline Penna parried the ball and a diving McGrath reacted quickly from mid-on, swooping in to complete the catch.

"I had a great view of it ... it was pretty special," Adelaide's player of the match Katie Mack said, having top-scored with 50.

The Renegades' roller-coaster victory started when they were sent in and rolled for 110, losing 9-43 as Johnson snared 4-26 for the Thunder.

The hosts needed 19 runs off the final over in a stop-start chase.

Lauren Smith slapped three consecutive off-side boundaries off Rosemary Mair to make Sydney's victory equation just seven runs from three balls, but the bowler kept her cool and the Thunder finished agonisingly adrift on 7-108.

Ash Gardner starred with bat and ball in the Sixers' win.

Gardner scored 53 in a total of 6-149 then delivered two wickets in a clutch final over, helping restrict Hobart to 8-140.

In the late match, the Melbourne Stars defeated the Perth Scorchers by eight wickets.

The Scorchers were dismissed for 118 with Nat Sciver (2-23) and Alana King (2-16) among the wickets.

The Stars reached 2-120 in 15.2 overs with Meg Lanning scoring an undefeated 51 off 38 balls against her former team.