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Cricket news - Spectacular Sophie propels Strikers into maiden final
Devine took two wickets and composed a crucial unbeaten 65
Adelaide Strikers vs Perth Scorchers, 1st Semi-final
Sophie Devine blasted her ninth half-century of the season to propel Adelaide Strikers into their maiden WBBL final, at the Allan Border Field in Brisbane, on Saturday (December 7). Strikers kept Perth Scorchers to just 126 from their allotted overs with Devine and Megan Schutt accounting for two wickets apiece before the New Zealand allrounder hit a 46-ball 65 not out to script a comfortable eight-wicket victory, giving Strikers' their first shot at history.
Opting to bowl, Strikers had Scorchers on the mat when Schutt's double strike, on consecutive balls, had them reeling at 23 for 3 by the end of the fifth over. Devine had already accounted for their captain, Meg Lanning, for just 1. Georgia Redmayne and Jemma Barsby decided Scorchers won't go down without a fight as they put on a 88-run stand for the fourth wicket to take the team into triple figures.
Devine got Strikers the breakthrough again to break the partnership as Barbsy fell for 37-ball 31 just as it was time to accelerate. Redmayne, who went on to notch up a fifty, fell in quick succession as Scorchers could manage only 126. Tahila McGrath bowled her four overs for just 19 runs and returned wicketless, while Schutt picked her two for 14 runs.
Devine's figures stood at 2 for 23 from her four overs. However, her contribution, and threat, was far from over. Despite losing her captain Suzie Bates in a sedate start, she took it upon herself - yet again this season - to guide the chase. She hit eight boundaries and a six in her 46-ball knock, stitching a 79-run partnership with McGrath for the second wicket that laid the foundation of their successful chase. McGath fell for 36, but Devine stayed till the end and hit the winning runs - a straight drive off Heather Graham - to help Strikers confirm their final berth for the first time in the tournament history.
With a match still in hand, Devine currently stands only 14 runs away from eclipsing Ellyse Perry's record for all-time best aggregate in a single WBBL season of 777, registered last edition.
Brief scores: Perth Scorchers 126/7 in 20 overs (Georgia Redmayne 51, Jemma Barsby 31; Megan Schutt 2-14, Sophie Devine 2-23) lost to Adelaide Strikers 130/2 in 18.1 overs (Sophie Devine 65*, Tahila McGrath 36; Kim Garth 1-33) by 8 wickets.
Brisbane Heat vs Melbourne Renegades, 2nd Semi-final
Molly Strano's four-fer went in vain as Maddy Green and Grace Harris's valuable 40s powered the defending champions Brisbane Heat into their second successive WBBL final, beating Melbourne Renegades by four wickets. Heat, who overcame Renegades' strong 163 rather comfortably with two overs to spare, take on Adelaide Strikers in the final with the added benefit of the home advantage at the Allan Border Field.
Replacing Renegades' English recruit, Chamari Athapaththu hit a brisk 21 off 19 to help her team consolidate after losing Anna Lanning early in the fourth over. However, it was Josephine Dooley and Jessica Duffin's 80-run partnership that set the base for a strong total. The wicket-keeper and captain pair scored at a brisk pace, adding 80 runs in just 10.2 overs before Jess Jonassen removed Duffin six short of a fifty. Dooley went on to complete hers, finishing with a 42-ball half-century that contained three boundaries and a six. But it was Georgia Wareham's little cameo at the fag end that lifted the total to 163. The allrounder hit 22 in just eight balls she faced before being dismissed last ball of the innings to put up a competitive target.
Heat's strong top-order though made light work of the chase. Maddy Green (46 off 29) and Beth Mooney (15 off 18) helped the hosts off to a flier, adding 69 quick runs before Strano struck off successive balls to land a telling blow.
Heat were in a spot but Jonassen combined with Harris for a 80-run partnership of their own that took the game away from Renegades. It started when Carly Leeson leaked a generous 26 in her two over spell after being introduced in the 11th over. In the meantime, Harris and Jonassen looted 16 off Athapaththu's first over. Wareham returned into the attack in the 15th over and Harris hit back to back sixes and the fate of the game was all but sealed.
Strano made a strong comeback for Renegades by cleaning up both the set batters in the middle but the damage was beyond repair. Heat needed 15 runs from there on, in 27 deliveries, and despite losing two more, closed off the chase with 12 balls to spare to set up a final date with a team they had been constantly in a tussle with for the top spot in the league table.
Brief scores: Melbourne Renegades163/4 in 20 overs (Josephine dooley 50, Jessica Duffin 44; Jess Jonassen 1-27) lost to Brisbane Heat 166/6 in 18 overs (Maddy Green 46, Grace Harris 43; Molly Strano 4-28) by 4 wickets.
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