Top-ranked Heat pumped for WBBL finals

Steve Barrett
Beth Mooney has been in fine form in the WBBL, scoring 672 runs at 74.67 for Brisbane Heat

Brilliant Brisbane opener Beth Mooney is "pumped" that the Heat's bid to defend their WBBL crown will take place at Allan Border Field this weekend.

Mooney's unbeaten 50, her eighth half-century of a golden campaign, propelled the Heat to an eight-wicket win over the Melbourne Stars at St Kilda on Sunday and to top spot on the ladder on net run rate ahead of second-ranked Adelaide Strikers.

With the Sydney Sixers (for the first-ever time) and Sydney Thunder missing the major round, Mooney is delighted to be hosting the finals series.

"We're pumped," said Mooney, the competition's second-leading run-scorer with 672 at 74.67.

"We haven't hosted too many finals and it's out of Sydney which is a win too.

"The girls are looking forward to be going to AB Field.

"It's a great batting wicket, a great atmosphere and hopefully we can fill the grandstand and the hill."

The Heat also have three of the top six wicket-takers in the tournament (Jess Jonassen 19, Delissa Kimmince 17 and Sammy-Jo Johnson 16) and will start as favourites on Saturday when they take on the fourth-ranked Melbourne Renegades (8-6) for a spot in Sunday's final.

The 'Gades cemented a semi-final berth after cruising to a clinical 29-run win over Sydney Thunder in St Kilda.

In the form of her life with 500 runs at 71.43 for the campaign, captain Jess Duffin crunched her third successive 50 to set up the win before tweaker Molly Strano cleaned up with the ball with 3-26, taking her to a competition equal-best 20 wickets at 18.90.

Meanwhile, Australia and Perth captain Meg Lanning says Allan Border Field holds no fear for her third-placed Scorchers (9-5) who will tackle the Strikers in the first semi-final.

Lanning's maiden WBBL ton on Sunday took her to a team-best 530 runs at 44.17 and has the Scorchers firing at the right time of the summer.

While their top-order has been a strength all season, the Scorchers will be without seasoned England pair Amy Jones and Nat Sciver, who are away on national duties.

"We've played at AB Field this year and we've won there as well so we know the conditions pretty well," Lanning said.

"It's great to be there and it's exciting to play in the finals."

Strikers skipper Suzie Bates hopes her side will be 'hungrier' after losing to the Sydney Sixers at Hurstville Oval to relinquish top spot and home-ground advantage.

"Sometimes it's a good thing to have a loss and you can reassess some of your bowling plans and get a bit hungrier," she said.

"It's anyone's ball-game next weekend."

Sophie Devine crushed an aggressive 60 in the losing cause to take her tally to a league-best 699 runs at 77.67, plus a WBBL-high 28 sixes (to go with 16 wickets at 20.25), and looms as a key figure this weekend.

WBBL FINALS:

Saturday, December 6: semi-finals 2-Adelaide Strikers v 3-Perth Scorchers, Allan Border Field

1-Brisbane Heat v 4-Melbourne Renegades, Allan Border Field

Sunday, December 7 Final: Winner semi-final 1 v semi-final 2, Allan Border Field.,