The Melbourne Renegades have continued their winning streak in WBBL|07, a quickfire late-innings score from Jess Duffin giving the side the insurance they needed before the defensive efforts ensured the victory.
With a 12-run win over the Sydney Sixers, the Renegades collected their third win of the season – equalling the total number of wins the side recorded across WBBL|06.
Things looked shaky early with Eve Jones (four off 11) and Courtney Webb (nine off seven) departing for low scores inside the first five overs. A 51-run partnership between Indian duo Jemimah Rodrigues (25 off 27) and Harmanpreet Kaur (43 off 32) steadied the side and kept the scoreboard ticking over with the Renegades also recording their best powerplay session of the campaign – 2/45.
When Rodrigues was dismissed by Lauren Cheatle, the medium-pacer did claim an important scalp to stop the partnership, however, it brought in the returning Jess Duffin, fresh off a year out of the game due to the birth of her first child.
Duffin has mostly failed to truly trouble the scorers thus far in WBBL|07 – with scores of two, six* and 11 -, although she showed today her importance with the bat and the ability to contribute with hard hits and a game-awareness that a former captain knows and can bring.
It took four balls for Duffin to get off the mark with a single, rotating strike with Kaur before scoring her first boundary in the 14th over, lofting a ball over the field at cover, the ball trickling over the rope.
Duffin came alive in the 16th over, launching a six back over the bowler’s head when she danced down the wicket and made good contact to bring up the 100 for the Renegades.
The following three overs saw Duffin, and captain Sophie Molineux continue to add runs – although just ones and twos before Molineux (10 off 10) and Josie Dooley (zero off one) fell in consecutive Ash Gardner deliveries.
Sensing the score at the time – 125 – wouldn’t be enough, Duffin left it to herself to bring the total to a more respectable margin from the final over, one that was closer to the par score at the ground.
Starting off with a boundary, targeting the long-on region, she made a fast start before launching another one to the fence between the fielders at midwicket and long-on, finishing the innings with a maximum, clearing the rope in the same area as her previous boundary. She would finish 41* off 32 balls.
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Coming back after the break to defend 142, Molineux entrusted herself with the ball to start proceedings in the second innings – and to great avail. The left-arm orthodox spinner had Alyssa Healy bowled off the last ball of the over, keeping a tight line across the remainder of the game, finishing with figures of 1/17 off four overs.
Youngsters Ella Hayward (1/22 off four overs) and Ellie Falconer (2/28 off four overs) each stood up to the pressure during the run chase, breaking set partnerships and being damaging with the ball in hand.
As well, the Renegades’ ability to be direct with their fielding efforts, whether on the boundary or taking catches, nothing compared to the endless opportunities to catch their opponents out with their running between the wickets.
Overall, four Sixers batters suffered their fate via a run-out – none more impressive than Rodrigues second-effort to stop the ball and recover to pick it up swiftly, turn, and catch the dangerous Ash Gardner out of her crease.
Speaking to Fox Cricket post-game, Molineux said it was a great effort by the side to utilise their skill with the bat and ball in new conditions.
“It was a pretty hard-fought win today…, it’s nice to come out west,” she said.
“Everything’s harder; the pitch is harder, the outfield is faster. I think 160 is par so it was a really gutsy effort with the ball by our girls.”
Reflecting on the efforts of Hayward, who’s in her second year and now has 12 games under her belt, Molineux said she was taking the opportunity with both hands, especially in the absence of Georgia Wareham.
“Ella’s been great, she’s a pretty confident kid so we knew she wasn’t gonna shy away from any of the contests and she’s been great so far and she’s got all of us supporting her,” she said.
“I know Wolfie (Georgia Wareham) is at home, watching every game and riding the highs and lows with us too but Ella’s done a great job. Wolfie is irreplaceable but Ella’s doing an awesome job for us.”
Now knowing the conditions in Perth, and at Lilac Hill, the Renegades will be watching the next match of today’s doubleheader with a keen eye, their next encounter at the same ground tomorrow against the Strikers.
“We’ll keep an eye on [the Strikers], they’re a quality team so we’ll have to get our 12 hours sleep tonight and turn up and do it again”, Molineux mentioned.
The Melbourne Renegades are the first game of tomorrow’s doubleheader at Lilac Hill in Perth, taking on the Adelaide Strikers from 10:25 am local time.
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