Annabel Sutherland Melbourne Stars WBBL|07

Annabel Sutherland made 57 off 50 in the Melbourne Stars' WBB:|07 win against the Sydney Sixers. (Photo: Melbourne Stars - Twitter)

Melbourne Stars all-rounder Annabel Sutherland scored a game-defining knock of 57 off 50 to contribute to the teams' first win of WBBL|07.

Melbourne Stars all-rounder Annabel Sutherland had a big say in her side’s first win of WBBL|07, scoring a first-innings half-century and backing up the performance with the ball.

Promoted to the top of the order this season after spending most of her time as a middle-order batter, Sutherland has guided the previously winless Stars to a 30-run victory over the previously undefeated Sydney Sixers.

The 20-year-old was in control from the very first over of the match, taking a majority of the strike between her and opening partner Elyse Villani to score 57 off 50 in a match-defining knock that included nine fours.

Sutherland’s time at the crease wasn’t without drama, dropped three times throughout the innings on scores of 23, 35, and 40. She would achieve her half-century with a weighted shot that bounced over the boundary at long off.

Her innings would come undone by an Ash Gardner ball that bowled Sutherland, the Star caught too far back on the crease, her feet stuck and unable to move to the eventual pitch of the delivery.

With late cameos from both Maia Bouchier (32* off 25) and Kim Garth (24* off 21) who put on a 51-run partnership, the Stars put forward a score of 3/139.

The Stars’ bowling unit was just as impactful in claiming wickets at crucial times during the Sixers’ innings, of which Sutherland was a key contributor when called upon.

First given the ball for the fifth over by captain Meg Lanning, Sutherland made an immediate impact with her third ball with the prized scalp of Sixers opener Alyssa Healy, caught at mid-wicket by Bouchier. Sutherland gave up just two runs in that over, finishing with figures of 1/24 off four overs.

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Speaking to Fox Cricket post-game after receiving Player of the Match honours, Sutherland was full of praise towards her teammates resilience to bounce back from a 63-run loss to the Hobart Hurricanes yesterday to get on the board in WBBL|07.

“I think we came in today with nothing to lose really, especially off the back of yesterday, we were pretty disappointed with how that turned out. I think we came together as a group and I guess, were able to put a really strong performance on the board today and get on the board,” she said.

Sutherland revealed that she has been enjoying a new position up the order, citing that it comes with a greater amount of responsibility but that the chance to learn from the likes of Villani and Lanning is beneficial to improve her own game.

“I think there’s almost no better place to bat than opening the batting so I’m really grateful for the opportunity and [I’m] enjoying opening with Junior (Villani) and having Meg [Lanning] come in at three. They’re two of the most experienced players going around so [I’m] just trying to learn as much as I can and was glad that I was able to have some time out there today,” she mentioned.

“I guess once you sort of get yourself in, I think it’s just taking the game on from there and working with the batters that are coming in. I think Maia [Bouchier] came in and played a really handy knock and Kim Garth as well so we’ve got some handy players throughout that middle order that can come in and take the game on.”

Having claimed her fourth wicket in three matches this season, Sutherland pointed out the experience of the entire bowling attack at the Stars, and how today, each of the five bowlers utilised, earned at least one wicket.

“It’s one thing we spoke about and reflected on yesterday, I think, obviously Rachael Priest had a really good knock against us but we didn’t quite finish as well as we would’ve liked so I guess for all us bowlers today, we came in and hit our spots and it came off today which was nice,” Sutherland said.

The Melbourne Stars will now be travelling to Launceston to prepare for an October 23 match against the Brisbane Heat at Invermay Park from 2pm.

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