Strikers in thriller win over Scorchers

Kristy Williams Roar Rookie

By Kristy Williams, Kristy Williams is a Roar Rookie

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    The Strikers won another thriller on Saturday, sneaking over the line against the Scorchers with a ball to spare at the beautiful Traeger Park in Alice Springs.

    In a shortened 16-over game the Scorchers could manage only 9/87, losing wickets consistently throughout their innings before a Suzie Bates masterclass guided the Strikers home despite a few small hiccups along the way.

    Adelaide skipper Suzie Bates won the all-important toss and elected to bowl first without hesitation on a wicket expected to give plenty of assistance to seamers.

    The opening pair of Megan Schutt and Sophie Devine were perfectly set-up to take advantage of the conditions, extracting plenty of swing and movement off the pitch. The two speedsters took 2/20 from their four-over stint together, and it didn’t get much better from there for the Scorchers, who lost wickets at consistent two-over intervals.

    Despite two fantastic direct-hit runouts, some poor keeping led to several missed opportunities and a few extra runs, but the seamers all rose to the occasion, conceding just five an over on average and taking six of the wickets.

    It was only rising star Heather Graham (19 off 17 balls) who looked comfortable at the wicket. The lone Scorcher hit better than a run-a-ball in a disappointing team total of 87 off their allotted 16 overs.

    (Perth Scorchers)

    In reply, despite a first ball duck to Tammy Beaumont in the first over, the Strikers looked in reasonable control throughout thanks to a steady partnership of 44 runs off 50 balls from the experienced duo of Suzie Bates (49 not out off 47) and Sophie Devine (18 off 25).

    A calamitous run-out saw Devine depart just when it looked like the Strikers had a firm grip on the Faith Thomas Cup, and some tight bowling from Emma King (1/13 off three) and Heather Graham (0/15 off three) put the pressure back on the batting side.

    In the end the class of Suzie Bates and some sloppy fielding from the Perth side meant it was the Strikers who were again to prevail in a tight game, getting over the line on the second last ball.

    Highlight: The pick-up and throw from Tahlia McGrath that resulted in a direct hit run-out off her own bowling was a fantastic piece of fielding and also removed the incredibly dangerous Katherine Brunt.

    Lowlight: Two misfields from English international Nat Sciver in the last over meant the Strikers were able to chase down the total despite losing a wicket with just two balls remaining.

    Clutch play: Megan Schutt was fantastic with the ball in hand, conceding just 18 runs off her four overs, but it was her crucial single on the second last ball that snared the win for the Strikers in a pressure situation.

    By the numbers

    • 47.91 per cent of the first half of the Strikers batting innings were dot balls.
    • Despite stroking four half-centuries and being the competition’s third-leading runscorer, Elyse Villani’s last three innings have yielded just 33 runs.
    • There were 78 balls between Suzie Bates’ first and second boundaries, despite the captain carrying her bat for a classy 49 not out.
    • Fifth position on the ladder for the Scorchers now after dropping a match the commentary team dubbed a “four-point game”.

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