It normally takes experience to be able to close out a game with the ball, but Melbourne Stars young gun Annabel Sutherland is playing beyond her years.
The 22-year-old took two wickets off two consecutive balls to seal the Stars’ third win of the season, in a four-run victory over crosstown rivals, the Melbourne Renegades today.
Needing 19 off 14 to win, the Renegades looked to be in the box seat with Hayley Matthews and Courtney Webb at the crease, however Sutherland found the breakthrough dismissing the West Indian captain, before sending Sarah Coyte on her way.
Sutherland finished with career-best figures of 4/22 from her four overs, also claiming the crucial wickets of Tammy Beaumont and Harmanpreet Kaur, each scoring above 30.
These wickets would come at important moments of the match where the Renegades had established steady partnerships. Sutherland said that her ability to breakthrough with the ball comes down to her ability to constantly execute her change-up and stock balls.
“I just tried to keep the stumps in play as much as possible, then mixing my variations around that. The Junction [Oval] wicket was a little bit variable in bounce especially being the second game [of a double header],” she said.
“I’ve had these changeups for 18 months now and it’s just reading the game and a bit of experience working out the situation of the game.”
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Before icing the game with ball in hand, Sutherland provided some much-needed aggression with the bat to guide the Stars to 5/144 off 20 overs. She scored a quickfire 24, producing a 36-run partnership with captain Meg Lanning.
Lanning might have top-scored with an unbeaten 67 off 49 deliveries, but it was the increase in tempo from Sutherland that enabled Lanning to play her own game. Sutherland sensed at 2/77 off 11.3 overs when she walked to the crease, a momentum shift was needed.
“At that stage of the game, it was time to put our foot on the accelerator,” she said.
“There’s no better person to bat with than [Meg]. The experience she’s got, competes like no one else.
“It’s good having a calm head at the other end, but it’s lots of fun batting together.”
In the pursuit of 145 for victory, the Renegades’ change at the top of the order was unsuccessful. Emma de Broughe grazed the ball to Sophie Reid to be dismissed for a second-ball duck. De Broughe’s move up the order would prove beneficial in the long haul as the depth of the Renegades batting line up propelled them into a winning position.
Tammy Beaumont and Harmanpreet Kaur produced a 63-run partnership to steady the ship, while Matthews was able to dispatch the Stars bowlers before being caught on the rope with nearly two overs remaining.
After Sutherland’s heroics with the ball, the Stars held on to break a four-game losing streak. Although their season hasn’t gone to plan, Sutherland and the Stars remain optimistic going into their final four games.
“It’s been a bit of a frustrating season not being able to string wins together,” she said.
“Hopefully with this win, we can carry some momentum into the backend of the season.”
Sutherland’s performance resulted in her second player of the match for WBBL|09.