WBBL round-up: Laura Harris’ 18-ball fifty powers Heat to victory

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Brisbane Heat 6 for 168 (L Harris 68*, Kerr 41) beat Hobart Hurricanes 7 for 164 (du Preez 73*, Hancock 4-32) by four wickets

Laura Harris celebrated her 100th WBBL appearance with an unforgettable maiden half-century to hoist the Brisbane Heat to a four-wicket win over the Hobart Hurricanes at Blundstone Arena. Chasing 165, Brisbane were struggling at 4-65 in the 12th over, but Harris blasted nine fours and three sixes in a spectacular unbeaten 68 off 29 balls.
Harris, who had scored just 42 from her seven previous innings this season, and New Zealand international allrounder Amelia Kerr, pounded 87 in six-and-a-half overs of mayhem. Kerr was dismissed with 13 runs needed off as many balls and though Brisbane lost a wicket with the scores level, Harris swept the winning boundary with two balls to spare.

Harris reached her 50 off just 18 balls, the second quickest half-century in WBBL history. Heat went almost nine overs without a boundary before Harris smashed 14 off the last three balls of the 12th over to break the shackles. Nicola Carey spilled a tough chance at deep midwicket when Harris was on 16 and the powerful batter made Hurricanes pay.

It was a devastating loss for fifth-placed Hurricanes, who remained three points off fourth spot, though they have played less games than the teams above them.

The two innings followed a similar pattern with both struggling in the first half and cutting loose in the second. Hurricanes took 13 off the first over, but lost three wickets in as many overs to crash to 3-20 in the fourth. They hit just two fours and a six in the first 14 overs, but blasted 79 runs off the last six. South African batter Mignon du Preez paced the recovery perfectly, running hard early in her innings and clouting several boundaries in the closing overs. She added 61 off seven overs with Nicola Carey.

Melbourne Renegades 5 for 122 (Molineux 55*) beat Sydney Thunder 6 for 121 (Jones 53) by five wickets

Melbourne Renegades captain Sophie Molineux produced her best innings of the WBBL season to guide her side to a five-wicket win over fellow stragglers Sydney Thunder in Hobart.

Chasing 122 at Blundstone Arena, Renegades were struggling at 3 for 30 in the fifth over. A third-wicket partnership of 52 between Molineux and Courtney Webb (29 off 27) got them back on track. Molineux, who had scored just 60 runs from her seven previous innings, with a high of 32, notched an unbeaten 55 off 45 balls. Molineux’s first two scoring strokes were cover-driven boundaries and with victory in sight in the 18th over, she struck three successive fours off Belinda Vakawera, who had conceded just six runs off her first 19 balls. The win broke a six-match losing streak and lifted Renegades off the bottom of the table and relegated the Thunder to last, having played two more games.

Both batting lineups struggled for fluency, with the Thunder lacking urgency throughout their innings. England’s Amy Jones also scored a season-best 53 off 48 balls but she lacked support, scoring five of the Thunder’s nine boundaries. A second-wicket stand of 58 between Jones and Sammy-Jo Johnson (19 off 24) set up a decent platform for the Thunder, but they couldn’t push on and finished at 6-121. South African quick Shabnim Ismail (2-26) and spinners Ella Hayward, Molineux and Hayley Matthews kept a tight grip on the Thunder batters.

Thunder’s hopes of defending their modest total rose when Renegades imports Chamari Athapaththu and Matthews fell in the first four overs. When Josie Dooley.was adjudged lbw to a ball that replays showed bounced over the top of the stumps without being reviewed, Melbourne were 3-30 but Molineux then took over.

Adelaide Strikers 3 for 120 (Dottin 68) beat Perth Scorchers 9 for 119 (Schutt 4-20, Barsby 3-22) by seven wickets

West Indian Deandra Dottin scored her WBBL high of 68 off 51 balls to set up a seven-wicket win with four overs to spare to lift Strikers to 12 points, second behind the Sixers on net run rate. Noted power hitter Dottin scored just 21 off her first 26 balls but cut loose with three fours off spinner Lilly Mills just before the mid-innings break and then smashed 18 in the first of the power surge overs, as Strikers reached their target with four overs to spare.

Scorchers lost two quick wickets on three occasions with Beth Mooney following her 99 not out in Saturday’s win over the Sixers with a golden duck. Jemma Barsby struck twice in the first over and Scorchers managed just a modest total despite 37 and 36 respectively from New Zealanders Sophie Devine and Maddy Green.

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