22/05/2024

The Melbourne Stars look on as their batting order crumbles under the Thunder's tight bowling. Photo: www.cricket.com.au

Elyse Villani was the shining light for the Melbourne Stars in her team's 19-run loss to the Sydney Thunder on Saturday, October 30.

Elyse Villani was the shining light for the Melbourne Stars in her team’s 19-run loss to the Sydney Thunder on Saturday, October 30.

Villani made a spectacular run out from mid-off before the Stars’ leading run scorer continued her fine batting form, notching up 38 runs off 31 balls.

Playing at the University of Tasmania Stadium in Launceston, the Stars bowled first on what appeared to be a pitch best to start batting on.

Kim Garth took her first and only wicket of the game in the third over, as Annabel Sutherland caught Smriti Mandhana’s mistimed chip to mid-on in the third over, having only scored three runs.

A second-wicket 89-run partnership between Tahlia Wilson and Phoebe Litchfield was brought to an end in the 14th over, when Litchfield pulled a ball from Erin Osborne to long-on, caught by Sutherland.

The final over saw two brilliant run out wickets taken by Elyse Villani from mid-off and Linsey Smith from mid-wicket, by Nicole Faltum.

The Thunder’s innings ended on 133 runs.

The Stars’ best with the ball were Osborne (2-25 from four overs) and Garth (1-17 from four overs).

Needing a score of 134 runs to win, Villani and Meg Lanning stepped up to the pitch to lead the way.

Sadly for the Stars, captain Lanning’s form slump continued; she was clean bowled in the second over by Samantha Bates for two runs.

Villani lost teammate Sutherland in the next over before building a small partnership with Maia Bouchier, but that came to an end in the 11th over when Bouchier was called out LBW.

Valiant Villani fell in the next over, also for LBW, after smacking 38 runs off 31 balls.

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Deepti Sharma was the Stars’ enemy in the 16th over, after she caught and bowled Garther for three runs and bowled Osborne three balls later for 11 runs.

Sharma was also responsible for the next wicket of Faltum, who was also caught and bowled for four runs.

Holding up the tail end of the batting was Tess Flintoff, who was scored 17 runs off 12 balls before missing a half volley from Hannah Darlington and being clean bowled.

At the end of the 20 overs, the reigning premiers the Stars had scored 114 runs, handing the Thunder its first win of WBBL|07.

It is the second loss on the trot for the Stars, having lost to the Hurricanes three days ago.

They will be hoping captain Lanning returns to form for tomorrow’s match against the Brisbane Heat, who sit second on the ladder.

It’s been 10 days since Lanning last made a double-digits score – even then, it was only 10 runs – and it’s clear the Stars need her to lead the way with the bat.

The Stars return to the University of Tasmania Stadium on Sunday, to play against the Brisbane Heat at 1.10pm local time.

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