The Sydney Thunder have fallen to a 0-3 start in their WBBL|07 campaign, the reigning champions going down by 12 runs to the Melbourne Stars, however, coach Trevor Griffin says the side responded well to the situation.
After the Thunder’s 81-run loss to the Scorchers two days ago, the team in lime green put in their best performance of the year to date, restricting their opponents – the Stars – to 107 runs in the first innings, and coming close to claiming their maiden victory of the season with the chase.
It all started with the ball with English bowler Issy Wong claiming the first two wickets of Annabel Sutherland and Meg Lanning – both inside the powerplay. At the end of the Stars’ first six overs, the Thunder had them sitting 2/18.
A collection of wickets late in the innings from the Thunder limited the probable inflicting damage the Stars are capable of with Sam Bates (1/11) and Wong (2/19) the most economical at the end of the 20 overs.
Batting second in reply, chasing 109 for victory, it was a similar start for the Thunder, losing Tahlia Wilson and Phoebe Litchfield in consecutive balls in the first over. The team stood at 4/13 after their powerplay, and 4/26 at the halfway point, bringing up a great need to fight hard and build their innings further.
Deepti Sharma (44* off 48) and Anika Learoyd (21 off 35) combined in the middle for a 42-run stand before the latter was bowled by Sophie Day. However, Sharma continued along, her partnership with Hannah Darlington (17* off 16) edging their side closer to the target, but effectively fell short, running out of overs available.
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Speaking post-game, Sydney Thunder coach Griffin said the result was frustrating but was happy with the team’s ability to put the recent losses behind them and compete well in a close contest.
“We wanted to have a reply from our game against the Scorchers, certainly with the ball and I thought we did that really well. I thought Issy Wong up top was superb with the new ball,” he said.
“To walk off at the interval [conceding] 108, [in] T20 cricket to have a team less than a run-a-ball, I thought that showed how well we responded from the weekend and the effort the girls are putting in in the field so I was really pleased with that.”
The showing with the bowl first of all, and then the bat, Griffin said it was satisfying to see some partnerships forming when chasing the total, but that further contributions needed to be made by others in the starting lineup.
“I think with the bat, the way we recovered, that partnership between Anika and Deepti, seeing Deepti bat though was really positive as well for us,” he said.
“We wanted to respond with the ball, we got that which was great to see but we’re going to need somebody, certainly in our top four, top six, top four to stand up and put a score on for us.
“We’ve played three games now, and we’re two or three, today four wickets down in the powerplay which, we’re far better than that and the girls know that.”
The coach conveyed the fact that the Thunder are a young group, however, the experience shared by the entire squad ensured that results would come for the club in the remaining fixtures of the season.
“Yes we are a young unit but most of these girls have been around the WBBL for a number of years in some format, they’ve all played within the WNCL, they’ve all got the skills to be able to go out and perform at this level,” he described.
“It’s been a bit of a strange sort of program for us. I guess the benefit of these back-to-back games is that we get to pick ourselves up and go again tomorrow.
“I’d like to see the same response with the ball and then somebody to listen to what we spoke about today and be the one that stands up and takes ownership with the bat tomorrow.”
The Sydney Thunder continues their WBBL|07 campaign against the Melbourne Renegades on October 27 at UTAS Stadium in Launceston from 1:25 pm.
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