Meg Lanning was back to her best, contributing with the bat and taking catches to help the Melbourne Stars to a comfortable 37 run victory against the Adelaide Strikers.
The Australian captain found form with the bat in her Melbourne Stars green, smashing 82 runs off 45 deliveries, and continued her strong day in the field with two catches.
Post-match, the Player of the Match enjoyed being back in the runs and helping her side out today.
“It’s nice to contribute to a win, that’s for sure. I certainly felt like that’s how I want to bat in this tournament and it sort of came off today, which is nice,” Lanning said.
“But yeah, I think overall our batting unit’s been, sort of, popping up every now and again to have different contributors, so it was nice that I was able to do that today.”
The match was reduced to 14 overs per side after rain delayed the start of play. This played in Lanning’s favour in a way, as she got straight into it and started swinging.
“There was a lot less thinking involved, that’s for sure.
“We got sent in, which also helps, so we sort of had nothing to lose, to be honest.
“Obviously from the game before, it looked like it was a pretty good batting wicket and we still – myself and Villani – just took a little bit of time just to get used to the conditions and then you sort of could cash in at the end there.
“So yeah, I guess from a personal point of view it was nice to get set and then sort of just expand from there.”
Elyse Villani chipped in with 23 runs and Maia Bouchier had an 11 run cameo, but it was largely Lanning who set her side up with 126 runs on the board from 14 overs.
Aggression with the ball early was what the Stars were looking for, wickets and pressure being key to getting on top in the second innings.
“We wanted to take early wickets. I thought… throughout the tournament, when we’ve been able to do that, that really does slow the opposition down,” Lanning said.
“It wasn’t just about defending, it was about attacking early and I think once you do that, the run rate climbs pretty quick so we’re in control of the game from pretty early on, which was nice.”
Lanning’s day out continued in the field, taking the catch off Linsey Smith to remove the powerful Laura Wolvaardt at mid off.
She didn’t stop there, with another catch just three overs later to remove the Strikers captain Tahlia McGrath.
Tess Flintoff, Linsey Smith and Rhys McKenna each finished with two wickets, Smith also taking three catches to help her side stop the Strikers.
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The Melbourne Stars were up and about in the field, and while they didn’t take all of their opportunities, they took enough to dismiss the Strikers batters regularly and put the pressure on the home team.
“We took some opportunities, we missed a couple as well, but that’s fine, we were going for them and that’s going to happen in this game,” Lanning said.
“We knew Adelaide had to come out pretty hard at us. So yeah, I think we were able to keep them under pressure early and getting those early wickets certainly helped as well.
“I think in general our fielding has been quite good throughout the tournament, we’ve had some good energy – we’ve got the good, young crew of players who [are] pretty energetic out there and love being in the field.
“It’s certainly nice to be out there.”
The Stars put pressure on the Strikers to take control of the game and set themselves on a path to victory. It was a convincing 37 run victory in the end.
“We had sort of been searching for that consistent performance with bat and ball, and I think we did that reasonably well in our last game against the Heat and then coming into today, we were able to do it again.
“Pretty good team in the Strikers, so yeah, definitely a pretty satisfying win.”
The Stars attention now turns to a derby clash against the Renegades tomorrow, and Lanning is “really excited” to be playing over the river at Adelaide Oval.
“The girls are really pumped.
“It’s one of the best grounds in Australia, if not the world, so a Derby against the ‘Gades – they’re in good form as well, so hopefully it’s a great contest and we can get over the line.”
The Melbourne Stars are back in action on Sunday, up against the Melbourne Renegades at Adelaide Oval from 1:40pm AEDT.
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