28/02/2024

Rachel Priest claimed the first century of WBBL|07 with her 107* (68). (Photo: WBBL/Twitter)

Hobart Hurricanes captain Rachel Priest took matters into her own hands at Blundstone Arena, guiding her side to victory with WBBL|07's first century.

After a sluggish start to WBBL|07, the Hobart Hurricanes have broken through off the bat of captain Rachel Priest.

The veteran Kiwi campaigner only managed scores of 2 (5) and 21 (24) in the Hurricanes opening matches, but today rocketed to 107* for the first century of this year’s tournament.

As her comrades fell around her, Priest was rock solid at the top of the order. Teammate Nicola Carey told The Inner Sanctum on Sunday that they’ve “got the batters that can do it”, and today they proved it.

Ruth Johnston, Mignon du Preez and Richa Ghosh fell for a combined four runs off 20 balls, but their captain held strong with 10 fours and seven sixes.

Priest saw it as a chance to turn around the two early losses.

“Obviously I haven’t had the start I would have liked to the tournament, haven’t been able to contribute runs in the first two games,” Priest told The Inner Sanctum.

“I knew I needed to start doing that. To come out against such a quality side like the Stars and contribute like that and get 100 was pretty special. We got to 153 in the end, so that always makes it tough for the team batting second.

“For me, I just really waited for the bad ball. I didn’t try to force anything today.

“With wickets falling at the other end, I needed to dig in and stay out there and try to see it through for as long as possible. That was probably the change for me.

“The other batters may not have gotten the runs they wanted today, but I know they’ll come good. People are still hitting the ball well, sometimes it just doesn’t go our way.”

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Priest’s optimism belies the issue that still faces the Hurricanes’ top order. They’ll now have a well-earned break until Saturday’s match-up with the Adelaide Strikers.

What was lost with the batters was gained with the all-rounders. Nicola Carey managed a serviceable 14 (19), while Naomi Stalenberg broke out with the bat, hitting 17 (13) including three boundaries.

She found the rope between extra and deep cover multiple times, pinpointing the fielding gaps perfectly.

If they wanted to match it with the finals sides however, du Preez will need to start firing regularly and contributing similar big scores.

Ruth the truth

Teenager Ruth Johnston was one of the great discoveries of the day, following in the footsteps of her young teammate on Sunday.

While Richa Ghosh impressed with the bat, Johnston showed that it is maybe the ball that’s her strength after all.

Johnston joined the team fresh off winning the Kath Smith Medal as Queensland’s best and fairest female cricketer. She was also named in the team of the year.

She became known for her batting, including a century coming in fourth with Ipswich. In Tuesday’s victory though, the allrounder’s bowling took focus.

Johnston finished the day with a game high 4/8 at a ridiculous 2.75 economy. She took more wickets combined than the experienced bowling trio of Molly Strano, Belinda Vakarewa and Tayla Vlaeminck.

In just her third WBBL game, she earned high praise from her captain.

“Ruth’s just a great kid, she’s relaxed and so calm and so competitive,” Priest said.

“She really wants to be out there and in the thick of it all the time. I wanted to get her in the game today, and I couldn’t have asked her to have a better performance.

“Four for eight, you can’t ask for much more than that from an 18-year-old coming in for her first Big Bash.”

Bowling the second most balls of any Hurricane in the win, expect to see Johnston with ball in hand more often in 2021.

“I hope today gives her huge confidence, that she can hack it at this level and she deserves to be here playing against some of the best players in the country.

“She showed today that she can really hack it in those moments. I just want her to continue to do that.”

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