Strikers trump sloppy Heat in nervy chase to reach second straight final


Adelaide Strikers Women 156 for 4 (Wolvaardt 47, Patterson 45*, Knott 1-27) count Brisbane Heat women 154 for 8 (A Kerr 43, L Harris 33, Schutt 3-26) with six wickets

Bridget Patterson’s late batting under pressure took Adelaide Strikers to a thrilling six-wicket victory over a sloppy Brisbane Heat and to a second successive WBBL final.

The Challenger was a seesaw of a match with Strikers riding their luck in a nerve-racking chase, with Patterson and Madeline Penna the heroes setting off jubilant scenes at Adelaide’s Karen Rolton Oval.

Heat had their chances but lamented four lost catches as redemption of Strikers eye for last season’s final heartbreak when they met Sydney Sixers at North Sydney Oval on Saturday.

Patterson performs at death
Attackers gambled and waited to take the power surge until the 18th passed with 33 runs still needed. It proved to be a masterful move after they scored 24 runs, highlighted by a huge six over deep square leg from Patterson, who was unperturbed by the situation.

It meant nine runs needed in the last over with Heat skipper Jess Jonassen behind legspinner Amelia Kerr with the season on the line. But it was Penna who knocked successive boundaries to get Strikers across the line with two balls to spare as her redemption after suffering a broken heart in last season’s WBBL final against Perth Scorchers.

Heat’s poor fieldwork proves costly

Perhaps they were tired after having to pull away from last night’s Eliminator victory over Hobart Hurricanes, but Heat had only themselves to blame.

After grabbing early wickets from Katie Mack and skipper Tahlia McGrath, Courtney Grace Sippel’s outfield lost catches proved costly.

Deandra Dottin in particular enjoyed her second chance as she inflicted more misery on Sippel with a six amid a wave of attacks to get Strikers into position at halfway.

Dottin’s cameo ended when she fell through Jonassen’s spin and was caught brilliantly by wicketkeeper Georgia Redmayne. But disaster struck when Redmayne injured her left calf after celebrating the layoff. She stumbled off the ground and was substituted out of the game, as Heat had to quickly regroup.

But their poor fielding, which came from a shoddy effort against Hurricanes, haunted them when they fell agonizingly short.

Attackers crash due to Heat’s strong top order
At the start of the do-or-die game, it loomed like a contest between Strikers’ brilliant offense and Heat’s dynamic hitting.

Opener Danni Wyatt had top-scored with 52 against Hurricanes, but fell to the fast-paced Megan Schutt in the second over.

Seamer Darcie Brown threatened a swing in to trouble Redmayne, who looked rusty against Hurricanes on her return from a hamstring injury.

Redmayne continued to look like a shadow of the player who had dominated earlier in the season before taking a confidence-inspiring boundary by square leg. But she was bowled by Brown on the next delivery trying the same shot, as Heat fell to 13 for 2 in the third over.

But Grace fell in the eighth inning, leaving Heat shaky at 43-3.

Laura Harris once again provides the fireworks

After Amelia helped stabilize the ship, Heat needed a lift from Laura Harris, who again pledged with power-hitting.

She turned the game against Hurricanes with 44 off 14 balls and almost replicated that here with a 14-ball 33, mixing combativeness with finesse after coming out on the crease after 14 overs 88-4. She crushed Brown for four boundaries in the 17th over, but her best shot may have been an outrageous switch on Schutt who shot to the deep third boundary.

Schutt exacted revenge on the next ball, but Laura’s fireworks helped lift Heat to a competitive total. But in the end it turned out not to be enough.