The Perth Scorchers have made history in the WBBL final against Adelaide, overcoming one star’s extraordinary moment of sabotage.
Perth are WBBL champions for the first time after dominating Adelaide in a rollercoaster final on Saturday night.
There were several dramatic moments, but through it all, the Scorchers never really looked like losing.
The 12-run victory was the third time this tournament that Perth had beaten the Strikers.
They were the clear standout team of the tournament after finishing top of the table and winning directly through to the home final and thoroughly deserve to be crowned the best team in Australia.
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The Scorchers had the big home crowd at Optus Stadium roaring as they recovered from a “coach-killing” moment mid-way through their innings to post a target of 147 for their opposition.
It looked like the total was beyond the Strikers right from the start of their innings after they slumped to the second lowest powerplay score of the tournament.
They reached 2/16 after six overs, needing 131 from 84 balls, after Marizanne Kapp finished her first spell with figures of 0/2 from two overs.
With four overs to play, the Strikers, at 4/94, need 53 runs from the final 24 balls.
Despite some impressive late hitting from Madeline Penna, who finished with 30 from 21 balls, Adelaide fell short at 6/134 at the end of their 20 overs.
The Strikers could easily have fallen apart earlier in their run chase when Tahlia McGrath very nearly became a third quick wicket to fall at the top of their order.
She was caught short of her ground scampering through for a leg bye when Scorchers keeper Beth Mooney’s throw to the non-striker’s end was on course for a direct hit before bowler Lisa Griffith stuck her hand out, having been caught between the throw and the stumps. Her fumble diverted the ball just enough to miss the stumps.
McGrath had been on just six runs at the time and went on to reach 36 from 29 balls.
Mooney jumped up in the air exasperated knowing her brilliant throw had been ruined.
Earlier, the Scorchers were flying at 0/52 before losing 3/15 on the back of a strange run out that left the home team needing to re-build their innings.
Opener Sophie Devine was run out trying to dart through for a quick single from the non-striker’s end.
She took on Dane van Niekerk’s arm and paid the price.
Replays showed just how bizarre her decision to call the run was, after she was seen several metres ahead of the crease when the delivery was bowled.
The run was never there.
“That’s a disaster,” Channel 7’s Brad Hodge said.
“A coach killer. Any time you get a run-out in the final is a disaster at the best of times. Looked like Sophie Devine called the run.
“If you have a look, she had done everything right. She backed up, got two or three metres down the track as well. So, all that says is there was never a run there.”
The dismissal was followed by the wicket of Chloe Piparo which meant Perth’s top three had been wiped out in the blink of an eye, leaving two new batters at the crease.
However, Perth recovered nicely to reach 5/146 at the end of their 20 overs, led by Devine’s 35 from 33 balls and Marizanne Kapp’s unbeaten 31 from 23 balls.
The innings included a moment where Adelaide brought van Niekerk into the attack to bowl to her wife Kapp.
Their dilemma of their marriage created plenty of headlines this week with Kapp expected to bowl to van Niekerk. However, the Strikers chose to play mindgames by bringing on allrounder van Niekerk to put her partner under some pressure.
The roles were then reversed in the first over of Adelaide’s innings with Kapp getting a chance to bowl at van Niekerk.