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Simply Devine as Perth Scorchers Kapp off brilliant year with first WBBL title

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27th November, 2021
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The Perth Scorchers have claimed their first-ever Women’s Big Bash League title with a 12-run win over the Adelaide Strikers thanks to superb all-round performances from Sophie Devine, Marizanne Kapp and Heather Graham.

The key to defeating the Scorchers was always going to be breaking the opening partnership early between star batters Sophie Devine and Beth Mooney.

Unfortunately for the Strikers it didn’t happen and the duo raced to their sixth 50-run partnership of the WBBL season inside the first 8 overs.

While Tahlia McGrath had a shocker to start her spell with two wides in a row – she made up for it by getting the crucial wicket of Mooney for 19.

But with the departure of Mooney, captain Devine stepped up and put the pressure on Adelaide’s spin bowlers.

She also took a liking to McGrath with a captain versus captain face-off. Her powerful on drive to end the 10th over was a statement.

But just as she looked like taking the game away from Adelaide, a piece of brilliance in the field from South African Dane van Niekerk found Devine short of her ground for 35.

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The Strikers put the squeeze on with another wicket the next over with Darcie Brown bouncing back from an expensive first spell.

Heather Graham made a quick-fire 23 in her 100th WBBL game. She was well supported by Kapp (31*) who helped ensure the Scorchers posted a competitive total of 5-146.

Kapp backed up her cameo with a superb spell of swing bowling in the powerplay. She didn’t take a wicket but she was essentially unplayable, troubling both openers including her wife van Niekerk.

The wife versus wife battle was intriguing as was the captaincy of Devine who bravely brought spin-bowler Alana King on in the powerplay and then bowled herself for a match-changing wicket maiden.

Adelaide managed a counter-attack with Laura Wolvaardt (25) and McGrath (36) picking up the run-rate with a 65-run partnership to give the Strikers an outside chance.

But the required run-rate was always above the 10 per over mark and it proved too much for the visitors to peg back even with Madeline Penna (30*) hitting Kapp for 6 – the first time she’d been dispatched over the boundary all tournament.

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With the Strikers needing 22 runs off the last over, Taneale Peschel was thrown the ball and she got the job done for her captain and team despite a few wides. She finished with 2 for 23.

In front of a big home crowd of 15,511 at Optus Stadium the win was extra sweet for the Scorchers who were deserved champions after topping the table and qualifying directly for the home final.

“We’ve been in a final a couple of times now, and we’ve obviously fallen short, so to be able to experience that (a win) in front of fans was unreal,” All-rounder Heather Graham said.

“It means the absolute world.”

Player of the match Marizanne Kapp’s performance was even more remarkable considering she couldn’t prepare for the game as she explained post-match.

“It was a terrible week for me. I was ill in bed all week,” Kapp said.

“Yesterday I bowled two overs (in practice) and had a 10-minute hit. Just had to contribute today. I don’t think I deserve this (player of the match award) as it was a team effort.”

Kapp also spoke about what it was like playing against her wife van Niekerk in a final.

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“It’s so hard, everyone thinks it’s easy. She knows me so well.”

“I was lucky to come off with her not hitting me all over the park. She’s a brilliant cricketer in her own right.”

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