20/05/2024

Tess Flintoff played a huge role in the Stars' eight wicket victory, taking 2/21 off her four overs. Image: Melbourne Stars - Twitter

The Melbourne Stars' have won their third game of WBBL|07, defeating the Brisbane Heat, after their young bowling line up restricted the Heat to the 2nd lowest score of the tournament.

After a perfect performance with the ball, the Melbourne Stars got themselves back on the winners’ list as they cruised to their third victory of WBBL|07, edging themselves into the top four.

After Meg Lanning lost the toss and was asked to bowl first on a pitch with invariable bounce and a lack of pace, Irish international Kim Garth continued her impressive form capturing wickets in the first over of an innings, removing the dangerous Georgia Redmayne (one off two balls) LBW.

It was the fourth time in WBBL|07 that Garth has taken a wicket in the first over of an innings.

If losing Redmayne at the end of the first over wasn’t bad enough, the Brisbane Heat’s powerplay went from bad to worse as Annabel Sutherland dismissed captain Jess Jonassen (6 off 11 balls) in the fourth over. At the end of the powerplay, the Heat were 2/36 off six overs.

The Heat batters’ were unable to put any pressure on the Stars’ bowling lineup, as the Stars mounted pressure through tight bowling and dot balls. In the seventh over, Tess Flintoff trapped Georgia Voll (2 off 10) LBW as she struggled to score.

Two overs later, Meg Lanning threw the ball back to Flintoff, hoping to get the key wicket of inform big-hitting Grace Harris. In Flintoff’s first over, Harris hit consecutive boundaries off the first two balls, but Lanning’s gamble worked as Flintoff later dismissed the dangerous Harris bowling her for 28 runs, leaving the Heat in a precarious position of 4/46 after nine overs.

In the 11th over, Annabel Sutherland captured the wicket of the explosive Laura Kimmince (5 off 10) attempting a ramp shot. Charlie Knott (4 off 8) soon followed three overs later after she was caught off the bowling of Erin Osborne.

The Heat batters’ were unable to build a partnership, that restrained them from accelerating the run rate and setting a reasonable score.

Annabel Sutherland captured her third wicket in the 17th over, bowling Mikayla Hinkley (20 off 26). South African Nadine de Klerk (2 off 10) followed Hinkley back to the pavilion an over later as Linsey Smith joined in the wicket-taking fun.

Kim Garth closed the bowling innings conceding only six runs while taking the wicket of Courtney Sippel (4 off 5), restricting the Heat to the second-lowest total of WBBL|07, 9/95 off 20 overs.

Five of the six Stars’ bowlers took at least took a wicket, with Annabel Sutherland (3/21 off four overs, 12 dot balls), Kim Garth (2/19 off four overs, 15 dot balls), and Tess Flintoff (2/21 off four overs) were the best of the bowlers.

Chasing a small total, Stars’ opener Elyse Villani stormed out of the blocks early, scoring 11 runs off the team’s first over.

Continuing her aggressive play on the ball, Villani (26 off 20) was caught off a drive, edging to wicketkeeper Georgia Redmayne off the bowling of Courtney Sippel. Annabel Sutherland (5 off 9) couldn’t take her fantastic bowling performance into her batting as she was dismissed by Nicola Handcock, leaving the Stars 2/37 off six overs.

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The wicket of Sutherland brought English import Maia Bouchier to the crease to join Meg Lanning. The Stars’ looked unfazed by the Heat’s bowlers’ as Bouchier (32 off 34) and Lanning (27 off 37) cruised to a 63 run partnership, guiding the Stars to 2/99 after 16.4 overs.

Speaking post-match on the Channel 7 broadcast, player of the match Tess Flintoff expressed her thoughts on the pitch conditions and how she went about bowling on the pitch.

“I think Kimmy [Kim Garth] got us off to a good start up front and towards [the] middle and back, end slower balls [were] really effective on this wicket,” she said.

“[I] just tried to execute that as much as possible, it was defiantly helped by the bowlers around me, they did a really good job.”

After their disappointing loss yesterday, Flintoff said the team was looking to bounce back against the then ladder leading Brisbane Heat.

“We were disappointed yesterday with the loss so we were really looking to bounce back and finish off this Tassie [Tasmania] leg, so we just [went] out there and [did] what we do best and hope it paid off and it did today.”

Flintoff has been working with Stars’ bowling coach Clint McKay on her ability to bowl slower balls, something she said she was happy to see come off during the game.

“[I’ve] just been trying to hit the top of the stumps and that was quite effective today, I’ve been working closely with Clint [Clint McKay] with my slower balls [and]the conditions worked today with that,”

Having played four games in five days, the Melbourne Stars now have a break until their next game next weekend, something Flintoff is looking forward to.

“It’s not too bad (the body), [it] should be going alright as an 18-year-old. It’s been really good, obviously, this week was pretty hectic with four games but we’ve got a bit of a break now until next weekend,” Flintoff explains.

“[We’ll] look to have a few rest days then get back into it next weekend.”

The Melbourne Stars now fly to Adelaide to face the Adelaide Strikers at Karen Rolton Oval next Saturday, play is set to start at 1:40 pm AEDT.

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