Perth Scorchers wicketkeeper-batter Beth Mooney has heralded her side’s composure with the bat and ball in the team’s win over the Brisbane Heat, believing the squad has all the elements this year to fire a warning shot to the rest of the competition.
Top-scoring for the Scorchers when the team was sent into bat in the first innings, Mooney scored 40 off 37 to set up a push to build a big total for the Heat to chase.
With the Scorchers finishing their innings by posting 7/137, the Heat was cruising in reply however, to the orange team’s credit, and their bowling unit, they were able to stifle the Heat in their tracks and force a super over.
With Brisbane setting a target of 13 for victory from six balls in the super over, Perth needed just four balls – with Sophie Devine blasting 13* including two sixes – to claim victory in their opening game of WBBL|07.
For Mooney, who was at the crease with Devine when the winning runs were hit, she says the confidence and momentum of the last-gasp win will be beneficial to carry into the rest of the season.
“Obviously we were staring down the barrel a little bit halfway through that second innings but I was really impressed by the character and the fight that was shown by our bowling unit and our fielding unit as well,” Mooney told media on Monday.
“It just goes to show that if you hang in there in T20 cricket, and you’ve got the team to get you over the line, it can absolutely happen.”
The 27-year-old pointed towards the emerging talent coming through the Scorchers system, as well as the value of experienced players as well, each following a similar mindset through working together during the competition.
“I think we identified in the off-season parts of the lineup that we were missing and I think we’ve filled sort of the batting roles and a few of the bowling roles really nicely,” she said.
“I think we’ve got the lineup this year with a bit more depth through that middle [order] and players in form to help us get it aligned if need be.”
One player Mooney highlighted was Perth Scorchers debutant Lilly Mills, who she has witnessed seeing play first-hand, having spent time playing for Queensland together.
Playing in just her second WBBL game after featuring in one match for the Brisbane Heat in WBBL|05, Mills finished her four overs with figures of 3/28, collecting the prized wickets of Heat captain Jess Jonassen, as well as Mikayla Hinkley and Georgia Prestwidge.
However, it was Mills’ composure when she was given the ball, tasked with bowling the final over of the game and needing to defend 10 runs that had Mooney full of adulation. Mills was instrumental in sending the game beyond the regulation time to give Perth a greater shot at taking the full points, having the backing of the entire team and her capabilities.
“[For Lilly] to come out and bowl some pretty crucial overs against her former team in a pretty tight situation I thought it just goes to show she’s got the skillset and a belief in her own game,” Mooney mentioned.
“We had the belief in her to be able to do that. I think it was a huge call letting her bowl that last over but we backed her in and she delivered when it mattered.
“She’s the kind of talent that’s a little bit wasted sitting on the sideline so Shelly [Nitschke] asked me a little bit about her in the offseason and we both agreed that we needed a finger spinner in our lineup.
“For someone like her to be sitting on the bench at [the] Brisbane Heat and not getting a lot of opportunity, we saw that as a real opportunity for us to get her and I think she’s absolutely delivered when it mattered.
“I think she’s had it in her for a long time, she’s just needed to be backed and valued and respected and given the opportunity and I know that this team and this group of support staff have been able to do that for her.”
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The Perth Scorchers don’t have long until their next game of the WBBL|07 season, facing the Brisbane Heat once again at Blundstone Arena tomorrow afternoon, with Mooney conceding the short turnaround won’t be detrimental to the team’s preparations to back up their performance.
“I think the quick turnaround’s fine in this competition, that’s what we’re prepared for and have prepared really well for across a number of years,” she commented.
“It’s actually not too bad when you get on a bit of a roll, especially winning a game like we did yesterday, to take a lot of confidence out of that moving to tomorrow.”
Speaking on the conditions in Hobart, and the doubleheaders that are scheduled, Mooney says it was important to get a feel for what might transpire, and how to play to an individual team’s favour.
“We’ll be on a fresh wicket tomorrow… so it’ll be nice to have a little bit of a look early in the afternoon at that game before us and then see what the conditions are like,” she brought up.
“We’ve shown, any width with the pace bowlers is easy to hit but I have no doubt that our bowlers, especially upfront will come to the party tomorrow and hopefully knock a few over early.
“I think definitely the spinners down here in these conditions have really capitalised on that and obviously we’ve got two very good spinners in our lineup so it’s really good to see them going so well.”
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