One of the world’s favourite female spinners, Amanda-Jade Wellington has stunned the game again with a Player of the Match performance to lead her Adelaide Strikers to back-to-back WBBL glory.
Not having always had the opportunity to shine on the world’s biggest stage for Australia, Adelaide’s very own Amanda-Jade Wellington continues to show why she’s been one of the unlucky ones to miss out on more Aussie call-ups throughout her career.
When her team needed her in the WBBL|09 final on Saturday night, Wellington truly delivered with a stunning final over spell, which tested her composure and her nerves. Her four over spell yielded three wickets, conceded only ten runs and included 14 game-saving dot balls in a low-scoring affair.
Speaking to media after the win, she described the feeling of being trusted to bowl the final over which took them over the line against the Heat.
“I think I’m just overwhelmed with joy, like two years in a row to have the faith [from Tahlia McGrath] to bowl that last over is pretty special,” Wellington said.
“I was getting flashbacks from last season.
“For me, I love those moments especially when there’s a crowd behind me, I know my team are backing me, I just know I’ve got to land my lengths and back myself like I’ve been doing for the whole year.”
Wellington explained her process behind the final three balls she bowled, the first was a length delivery that was hit for six by Mikayla Hinkley.
“It was a pretty good shot especially with the wind,” she said.
“That’s one thing I was worried about and cautious about was not getting too full and if I actually dug it into the wicket and get them to cut me.
“Unfortunately she got under me and it was a good shot but luckily I got her the next ball.”
With five required to win the match, it was only a few boundaries needed and the Heat could rescue a win.
Hinkley went again, but not far enough, as spinner Jemma Barsby took the catch that unleashed a roar from the Adelaide faithful.
“My heart stopped and then I saw Jemma getting settled under it about two metres in from the boundary and I was like ‘oh come on, just hold it’,” Wellington recalled.
“She held it and I kind of let out a big scream, a bit of relief and joy I think it was.”
With the Heat’s premier bowler Nicola Hancock netting herself bowling figures of 3/23 off her four overs, it was also up to her to finish with the bat at number 10. She came in with intent but only managed to edge the ball to third man.
“To be honest, I was just telling myself to land it, just land it outside off [stump] and try and get her to swing leg-side,” she said.
“I wanted it to be full but not too full that she could get under it as a step-hit, it was more of a jam of the bat and luckily she top-edged it to the short third and managed to get it in, take the bails and [it was] game over.”
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When asked about the pressure of bowling the last over, Wellington said she felt it from the power-surge which was taken at the 17th over but she just reverted back to backing her skills to get the job done.
“I sort of was looking at the scoreboard trying to take note of how many runs I needed to defend off the last over and I thought anything over ten, I had in the bag,” Wellington continued.
“I told myself as soon as I got to my run up [for the first ball of the final over] to take a deep breath, take every ball as it is, take my time and know [that] if I back my skills I’m going to do it for the team.”
Having famously bowled the super-over winner against the Sydney Thunder three years ago. Wellington is no stranger to the pressure of keeping a game tight to ensure a win.
“I’ve bowled a fair few last overs and I’ve bowled a fair few super overs as well, so I think for me personally, I love the crucial moments and the big moments if I need to step up,” she said.
“I think for me personally, I know that if the team’s got my back, I know that I can perform and especially on a big stage like this having so many people behind me and just hearing that roar at the end, I’m not going to forget that in a while.”
With 12,379 people at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night, it was the biggest attendance for an Adelaide Strikers WBBL standalone fixture. Wellington reflected on what it meant to have the ‘Blue Crew’ come out in force.
“It’s pretty bloody special honestly, I just never pictured [I’d] play a home grand final and to have a semi here [last year] and then a final here [tonight], it was incredible,” Wellington continued.
“I just think thank you to all the ‘Adelaidians’ who came out to support us, they’ve been amazing and the crowd even sticking around even now is incredible like you can even see them here, they are so loud and they are just amazing.”
Being credited with the team’s belief that they would win two consecutive WBBL titles, captain Tahlia McGrath has even said now that the team is hoping to go back-to-back-to-back. Wellington attributes the culture to that belief as well as their beloved coach Luke Williams.
“[McGrath] did [call it early for us to go] back to back and then if we were to win this one, then back-to-back-to-back, three’s a [lucky] charm you know, but I think [we have] just manifesting it from the beginning,” she said.
“This group is something special and the way everyone is so positive from the start, it’s a really good group and I think that’s what makes us really good cricketers is that we enjoy everyone’s company.
“We’ve [also] got someone like a Luke Williams as coach [and] we want to win for him and we just saw the emotions on his face and how special it [is] and what means to him, he was in tears, he made me cry for god’s sake, it’s just so special to see and so heartwarming to see.”
As an avid cricket watcher herself, Wellington is well-placed to speak about the state of Australian cricket and the growth of the Women’s space.
“It’s incredible honestly, the depth that we have here, not only in South Australia but [all] over Australia,” Wellington said.
“The depth of cricket itself is amazing, you know, you have Charli Knott who performed outstandingly this year [and] ou’ve got someone like a Georgia Voll.
“In other teams you’ve got Courtney Webb coming up to the stage, and I just think Australian cricket is just producing really amazing cricketers and I think Cricket Australia have a lot to look forward to in the future.”