Katie Mack starred with the bat, but a tough morning in the field meant the Adelaide Strikers fell 12 runs short of the Perth Scorchers in the Faith Thomas Trophy match to open the WBBL|07 First Nations Round.
It was a tight finish, but ultimately a 20 run final over for Perth set it up to defend a strong 177 run total at Karen Rolton Oval, and Adelaide just couldn’t get close enough to strike.
Post-match, captain Tahlia McGrath reflected on why they were chasing a total “just above par”.
“We missed a couple of crucial moments early in the field, dropping Soph (Devine) and then had an opportunity to run out Moons (Beth Mooney) and you just can’t give those two players a second chance,” she said.
“So, a little bit disappointing in the field, which is something we pride ourselves on, but we fought back well and almost got over the line.”
The Strikers broke through in the 17th over of the Scorchers innings, after the opening combination of Devine and Mooney had done most of the damage. Megan Schutt got the wicket of Devine, caught by young gun Darcie Brown.
“It was tough (to keep building pressure), especially bowling to the left hand, right hand combination was tough as well,” McGrath said.
“But we knew we needed to hang in there and all it took was one wicket, because we wanted to get into the rest of their batters quick as possible.
“So, we fought back really well. It never got entirely away from us, because it was such a good pitch.”
It was an expensive final over off Tahlia McGrath’s bowling. Heather Graham struck it over the boundary rope twice, before getting out.
The extra 20 runs meant the Scorchers’ total lifted to 177 from 20 overs.
“It’s a little bit of a daunting total, but it was a really good wicket, we’ve been playing really good cricket, so we thought it was probably just above par, but we still backed ourselves to chase it and we gave ourselves every opportunity,” McGrath said.
“Katie (Mack) led from the front there and Laura batted really well, as well. So just could get across the line.”
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The Strikers lost Dané van Nierkerk early in the chase, sent back to the dugout after skying a shot off the bowling of Marizanne Kapp.
However, the pair of Mack and Wolvaardt settled at the crease and found their rhythm, key to the Strikers getting as close as they did.
“They batted beautifully, and the big thing there was they weren’t taking unnecessary risks, they were just playing good cricket shots and looked like they were very comfortable in the middle,” McGrath said.
“We’ve got some players in good form, consistent performers. We know that someone different will stand up every day and today it was Katie (Mack) and Laura (Wolvaardt), and unfortunately just couldn’t get the job done.”
Mack went on with her innings and finished on an impressive 84 not out. It was her third time in four matches that she scored a half-century and batted through the innings.
“She’s full of confidence at the moment,” McGrath said.
“We’ve given her the nickname ‘Katie Whack’, cause she’s proper whacking ‘em…
“It’s just awesome to see the way she’s going about it because her running between wickets, her power hitting and just good cricket shots, she’s just doing really well.”
With just two matches remaining for the Strikers in the minor rounds of the tournament, it’s “pretty simple, just win” for the team to play finals.
“Two big games coming up, and look it’s each game as it comes, the old cliché, but it would be nice to be back on the winner’s list and play some finals cricket.”
Playing on the land of the Kaurna people, the Strikers wore their playing shirt designed by First Nations artist Allan Sumner, a descendant of the Ngarrindjeri, Kaurna and Yankunytjatjara people.
It was the fifth time the Strikers had hosted the Scorchers for the Faith Thomas Trophy match, which recognises the first Indigenous woman to represent Australia in any sport.
On this occasion it was the Scorchers, wearing their shirt designed by Jade Dolman, who took it home.
The Strikers now have a short break before back-to-back matches at Adelaide Oval this weekend, starting with the Sydney Sixers at 1:10pm AEDT on Saturday.
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