Elyse Villani’s dismissal for a duck painted the picture of a hard day at work for the Melbourne Stars.
After an opening night loss to the Sydney Sixers after setting a strong 99 run target in a shortened 11 over innings due to rain delay, Tuesday’s loss was hardly a strong follow up.
The Stars won the bat toss and opted to send the Hurricanes in first, after having watched them fail to put up a decent score batting first in the weekend’s matches.
They proceeded to give up the second biggest score of the tournament so far, with the Hurricanes finding 4/152 off captain Rachel Priest’s century.
When they thought it couldn’t get much worse, the Stars’ batting innings was even more dismal.
In clear conditions with no moisture or wind to speak of, Villani fell after facing just two balls with no runs to her name. This came in stark contrast to her game one 54* (31).
“Perfect start for the Hurricanes,” Morne Morkel commented on the FOX Sports broadcast.
“Just what they were after with the big wicket of Villani. Strano keeping the ball wicket to wicket, and Villani getting a little bit stuck on the crease there.”
Now sitting at the bottom of the ladder after two games played, coach Jarrad Loughman didn’t take the loss lightly.
“We were certainly blown off the park if you’re looking at the scores themselves, we certainly feel that way,” he told the Melbourne Stars website.
“I know it feels that way, and the girls were hurting in the rooms afterwards. We’ve got to rebound pretty quickly with another game tomorrow against the Sydney Sixers, it’s a big clash.”
Villani did have her moment in the field however, catching teenage Indian batting star Richa Ghosh before she could get rolling.
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The Stars’ fielding was perhaps the standout for the match, as Annabel Sutherland tiptoed across the rope while Maia Bouchier claimed Mignon du Preez with a screamer of a catch.
“Fielding was excellent, and we felt like we were in the game still with that chase,” Loughman said.
“Unfortunately, at 2/3 not long after, you’re in the hole, and it’s very difficult from there. I think the scorecard maybe belies the fact that the game was done and dusted.”
There weren’t all too many positives to take from the batting, but the fifth over was a fairly productive one. Bouchier and Meg Lanning combined for 11 runs, including a boundary each.
Lanning was the Stars best bowler of the day, going for 25 (28) and hitting three fours.
The bowling attack
While the Stars couldn’t find an answer for Hurricanes captain Rachel Priest as she smacked boundary after boundary, they ate through the rest of the top order with relative ease.
Kim Garth started the attack strongly, forcing Priest and youngster Ruth Johnston to just one run and five dot balls.
Linsey Smith would soon claim Johnston’s wicket in the fourth over, while Sutherland would follow up by removing both Mignon du Preez and the dangerous Richa Ghosh.
All Loughman could do was watch as Priest continued on her merry way.
“Priest scored 107 runs off 68 deliveries, it was an incredible innings,” he said.
“There were a lot of sixes and boundaries. The remainder of their line-up, we actually kept to around 45 runs off 50 or so balls. It’s incredible really how one player can have such an impact on a total.
“We thought the bowlers overall did a pretty good job. Annabel Sutherland was excellent, and we also thought Linsey Smith did well. Bowled in some tough spots for her first game for the club.
“Tessy Flintoff bowled with some good pace and some changeups as well.”
Sutherland finishing with a strong 2/22 at an economy of 5.50. The batters struggled heavily with the spin bowlers, with Molly Strano and Ruth Johnston taking six wickets between them.
The Stars now face an evening rematch against the Sixers on Wednesday.
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