Kim Garth's innings of 32 runs off 24 deliveries help push the Stars' total to 103. (Image: @WBBL - Twitter)

The Melbourne Stars were well beaten by the Melbourne Renegades' bowlers, leaving their aspirations to make the WBBL finals teetering.

The Melbourne Stars were well beaten by the Melbourne Renegades’ bowlers, leaving their aspirations to make the WBBL finals teetering.

Coming into the Melbourne derby, the Stars were riding a two-game winning streak, hoping to carry the momentum into this match against cross-town rivals, the Melbourne Renegades. However, it didn’t all go to plan.

Winning the bat flip and electing to bat first, Meg Lanning and Elyse Villani strolled to the crease at Adelaide Oval, looking to get the Stars off to the best possible start. The Renegades had other plans, as Sophie Molineux’s first over of the innings went for a solitary run.

Villani (one off two) was dismissed by a superb catch from Jemimah Rodrigues off the bowling of Harmanpreet Kaur. Meg Lanning and Annabel Sutherland again found Molineux hard to put away.

Sutherland (nine off nine) looked good at the crease, hitting Ellie Falconer over the rope for six but then skied a ball to slip the very next ball. With the Renegades producing dot balls and tight, accurate bowling, the Stars’ batters struggled to score, leaving the side 2/31 after the powerplay.

Meg Lanning looked like she was building on her resurgence to form from Saturday’s match against the Strikers, however, batting partner Maia Bouchier struggled to get off the mark, increasing the pressure on Lanning to score the bulk of the runs, especially after Bouchier faced Rhiann O’Donnell’s maiden over.

The first ball of Ella Hayward’s over saw Lanning (17 off 19) looking to drive, but missed and was bowled. Bouchier (five off 16) soon followed, departing as she looked to increase her strike rate but instead chipped the ball to Sophie Molineux at cover off the bowling of O’Donnell, leaving the Stars in a precarious position of 4/43 after nine overs.

It left Irish international Kim Garth and incoming batter Erin Osborne to guide the Stars’ to a defendable total. The pair put on a valuable partnership of 42 runs before Garth was run out for 32 runs off 24 balls.

The spin of Kaur and Molineux proved lethal during the middle overs, producing numerous dot balls and strangling the Stars’ batters scoring options.

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The Stars were unable to create enough impactful partnerships, consistently losing wickets. Tess Flintoff (one off three), Erin Osborne (29 off 36) departed during the middle period of the innings, restricting the teams’ ability to attack the back end.

Looking to attack the last over to maximise their total, the Stars were unable to get Kaur away, as she almost ended up taking a hat-trick, taking the wickets of Linsey Smith (two off three) and Rhys McKenna (golden duck).

On the last ball of the 20th over, Kaur was unable to secure the hat-trick, instead running out Nicole Faltum (five off seven), closing the Stars’ batting innings.

The Renegades bowled the Stars out, restricting them to 103 off their 20 overs.

Defending an under-par total, early wickets were key for any hope of a Stars’ victory. Tess Flintoff struck gold in the second over, capturing the Stars’ first wicket, bowling English recruit Eve Jones for a five-ball duck.

The wicket of Jones, brought Carly Leeson to the crease to bat alongside Jemimah Rodrigues. The pair looked unfazed completing the powerplay without the loss of another wicket. After six overs, the Renegades were 1/46.

As the field spread, Meg Lanning brought her spinners on, however, Erin Osborne, Sophie Day and Linsey Smith didn’t have the same impact as the Renegades’ spinners.

Leeson and Rodrigues put the Renegades in a great position, putting on an 81-run partnership before Kim Garth broke the pairing, removing Rodrigues (45 off 38) to a catch by Rhys McKenna in the 12th over, a dismissal that took commentary by surprise.

Two overs later, Garth captured her second wicket, removing Carly Leeson (41 runs off 33 balls) LBW. Harmanpreet Kaur (12 runs) hit the winning runs on the first ball of the next over, steering the Renegades to 3/104 off 14.1 overs, leaving the Stars in the middle of the pack, fighting for a spot in the finals.

The Melbourne Stars are back in action on Wednesday, up against the Perth Scorchers at Karen Roltan Oval from 1:25pm AEDT.

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