Amanda-Jade Wellington set up an Adelaide Strikers victory in The Elimination final of WBBL|07, securing the best bowling figures in WBBL history – 5/8 from four overs.
The Strikers are through to The Challenger against the Melbourne Renegades tomorrow night for a place in The Final of the WBBL|07 season against the Perth Scorchers off the back of a destructive spell of bowling from Wellington.
Celebrating her 100th WBBL match alongside Bridget Patterson, Wellington was immediately in the thick of the action from her very first over of the contest, picking up two wickets within three balls to have the Strikers well-placed early.
After conceding a single off each of her first two deliveries, the leg-spinner began a path of destruction, first finding Grace Harris skipping down the pitch, missing the flight of the ball which allowed Tegan McPharlin to complete a stumping.
She then had a slip in place to Mikayla Hinkley, a notable tactic, as she caught the edge, the catch taken by Dane van Niekerk.
While Georgia Voll got a hold of van Niekirk the next over, Wellington came back on for her second over which went for three runs.
With the final ball of the over, she saw Brisbane’s captain Jess Jonassen chop the ball onto the stumps, claiming her third wicket of the night. Wellington would clock 18 wickets for the season – a new season-best for her.
The Strikers brought Darcie Brown back into the attack – after she claimed the first wicket of the evening – which continued to slow the run rate of the Heat, but it was again Wellington who struck with the ball and dismantle the opposition line-up.
Riding her already-established momentum, Wellington conceded three runs off the first two balls to begin her third over, but was quickly on a hat-trick as got the wickets of Laura Kimmince and Voll in immediate succession.
With the wicket of Kimmince off a pull shot to deep midwicket caught by Patterson, Wellington was the newest member of the 100 WBBL wickets club, joining Molly Strano, Jonassen, Marizanne Kapp and Heather Graham.
It was also her 19th wicket of the season, equalling a Strikers season-best made by Sarah Coyte and Sophie Devine in WBBL|05.
One ball later, Wellington would celebrate her fifth wicket of the night, a new WBBL-best haul following her 4/24 in WBBL|06, when she saw Voll skew a ball to point, caught by Laura Wolvaardt.
The wicket would ensure Wellington became the Strikers highest-single-season wicket-taker with her 20th, while also being the first time she’s had a five-for, and the first time a five-for had been achieved in a WBBL final.
Wellington would finish with figures of 5/8 from her four overs after completing her spell with a maiden, continuously beating the bat of Nadine de Klerk, seemingly looking likely that more wickets could’ve come as a result.
However, she would revel in the fact that her performance – which sees her atop the WBBL-best bowling figures – put the Strikers in a good position come the second half of the innings, and subsequent second innings.
Sophie Coyte (1/26 off four) would claim the wicket of Nicola Hancock, who ensured the Heat would get closer to a more comfortable total and defendable target. Brown (2/18 off four) picked up two wickets throughout the contest as captain Tahlia McGrath (0/19 off three) bowled well also.
The Strikers, having limited the Heat to 114, completed the run chase in 16.3 overs due to a 71-run partnership between Strikers opener Katie Mack (50* off 42) who hit the winning runs – a four to bring her fifth half century in her last seven outings – and McGrath (38* off 27).
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Speaking to media post-game, Wellington spoke about her approach to this must-win encounter. A scan of the conditions during the game changed her tactics with the way that she bowled to get the most out of a turning pitch.
“I haven’t had that much trust in myself in a while and to see it pay off was really good,” she told.
“At the start of my bowling innings, I thought I was bowling a bit too full so I said to myself, ‘trust myself’ and ‘trust in the wicket’ and hopefully it can give me a bit of turn and it paid out well.
“I definitely think it’s my mindset and the way I approach cricket nowadays. I’ve spoken about it in previous interviews about my whole mindset and approach to the game has changed since my break and I think I’m in a really good space at the moment and my performances have shown that.
“I honestly think it’s a great reward for myself to have that confidence in myself, trusting in my bowling and where I’m at with cricket at the moment and to see those performances coming to life is reassuring that I’m doing the right things, making progress in my cricket career.”
Feeling a need to change her style and incorporate different methods to her bowling, Wellington utilised the ‘long ball’ to great effect during the game, explaining her new-found attack with her action and run-up, leading to more spin, and in turn, catching the batters off-guard.
“In the last year or so, I’ve been using [the long ball] more effectively rather than any other year,” she said.
“I felt like the long balls really help me with my length. If I want to draw back my length I can actually bowl from the stumps which is the long ball and bring back my length without trying to slow it up a little bit rather than forcing it.
“I could see the batters, they were stuck on the crease and I was telling myself ‘float it up there, bowl a long ball’, tempt them to come out of the crease… make them come and attack me rather than me trying to bowl a bit flatter with less revs on it so I said to myself, ‘put it up there, be brave and trust your legspin’.
“I actually was [surprised how much it turned], for an Adelaide Oval pitch, I was saying to the girls, as soon as I was marking my run-up and saw some grass on the pitch, I was cheering, I was like ‘you beauty, this is gonna spin today’!”
Finishing fourth in the WBBL|07 standings and needing to win two games to make the final itself, Wellington detailed the confidence the playing group needed to have heading into this match, which in turn would translate into the following matches, next facing the Renegades in The Challenger.
“Momentum is key in tournaments like these,” she mentioned.
“I spoke about it in other interviews about how it would be positive if we could have a win tonight, a win tomorrow and then hopefully go on to The Final with so much energy towards, and behind us, knowing that we can achieve those quick turnaround games.
“I think they [the Renegades] will have the same strategy towards me, last game Harmanpreet Kaur took me down.
“In the back of my mind I just know as a spinner I’m gonna get wickets but also I’m gonna get taken down so I think my mindset towards that is ‘risk for reward’ so if I want to try something, try it, and if I get punished that’s okay, I’m a spinner, it’s gonna be okay.”
The Adelaide Strikers continue their WBBL|07 finals fortune in The Challeger, facing the Melbourne Renegades at Adelaide Oval on Thursday 25 November from 6:40pm ACST.
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