After setting a solid score with the bat, the Sydney Thunder crashed through the Melbourne Stars’ batting order to take home a 19-run win in Launceston.
The Thunder looked to start shakily after gun batter Smriti Mandhana mistimed a hit to be caught by Annabel Sutherland in the third over after only scoring three runs.
But the next wicket did not fall until the 14th over, when Phoebe Litchfield was caught – again by Sutherland – heartbreakingly on 49 runs.
Her replacement, Corinne Hall, was caught by Sophie Day two overs later on three runs, before Deepti Sharma (16) and Tahlia Wilson (53) were both run out in the final over.
Litchfield and Wilson had made a solid foundation for their Thunder teammates to build on with an 89-run partnership, and at the end of the 20 overs, the team had scored 133 runs.
It was then time for the Thunder to defend the score, and that started with eventual Player of the Match Samantha Bates dismissing Stars captain Meg Lanning in the second over after scoring just two runs.
Issy Wong took the next wicket in the next over, bowling Sutherland, before back-to-back LBWs were created by Maia Bouchier and Elyse Villani.
Into the bowling attack came Sharma, and she ripped through the middle order, claiming the scalps of Kim Garth, Erin Osborne, and Nicole Faltum.
Two of those wickets Sharma did all the work herself, getting the batters out caught and bowled.
Captain Hannah Darlington rounded out the bowling and claimed the last wicket of the match by bowling Tess Flintoff.
The Thunder’s batting effort proved too strong for the Stars, who fell short of the total by 19 runs.
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Wilson was stoked her team got its first win of WBBL|07 on the board.
“I think we’ve tried really hard over our last few games but haven’t quite put the whole performance together – but today, to be able to go out there and put it all together, it was really special,” she said, post-match.
She said it was a real team effort, with each player contributing in some way to ensure the win.
“With the bat, we saw Phoebe Litchfield and myself have a really good partnership, and then Deepti Sharma came in at the end there and helped us get a good total on the board,” she said.
“And with the ball, I think all of our bowlers executed their plans, and our fielding effort was amazing.”
Wilson really enjoyed seeing young gun Litchfield light up the match through her effort with the bat.
She said Litchfield had “so much finesse and talent”, and was happy to be at the other end and provide some advice if needed.
“Phoebe is a really good player, a really good person as well. To be out in the middle with her was just really good to be able to see her perform,” she said.
Wilson’s 53 runs off 53 balls was the highest score she has made in her involvement with the WBBL, and she said despite a slow start to scoring, she had fun playing it out.
“I took a lot of learnings from my last few games and the coaches did say to me, ‘Look, just take your time, you know you can do it’,” she said.
“So I definitely gave myself a little bit more time at the start there and it definitely did pay off.
“I would’ve liked to have scored a little bit faster but I definitely feel really good that I could contribute to the team’s score.”
Having the coaches back the women in and provide encouragement helped them believe in themselves.
“[They said] we all know we can do it, we have the ability, we have the talent, so just believe in yourself because everyone else in the team definitely believes in you and what you can do; so yeah, it definitely comes back to self belief,” Wilson said.
The Sydney Thunder will take on the Hobart Hurricanes at the University of Tasmania Stadium in Launceston on Sunday morning at 10.15am local time.
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