The new-look Melbourne Renegades line-up has plenty of international firepower, but it was Aussie leg spinner Georgia Wareham who stood up for the ‘Gades on Saturday.
Leading the way with ball in hand, Wareham ensured the favoured Hurricanes could never get away after winning the toss and batting first.
Having snared 3/13 off her four overs, Wareham then finished the job with the bat as she finished not out to guide her ‘Gades to their first-up win in WBBL|07.
The leggie was the best of an even bowling unit that put in an impressive effort to start this campaign, with no member of the Hurricanes’ classy batting line-up managing to get past 30.
It didn’t always look like the Renegades would get over the line during their tight first round encounter, as Hobart openers Rachel Priest and Ruth Johnston got off to a secure start against Melbourne’s bowlers. But when Aussie spin twins Sophie Molineux and Wareham were brought on during the powerplay, the slower bowlers had an immediate impact.
While Wareham was the star of the show with her bag of three wickets, Molineux’s 2/12 off four overs and a handy knock of 16 opening the batting meant she became a massive contributor to the Renegades’ victory.
Despite suffering an early injury while trying to reel in a skied catch on the boundary, Indian signing Harmanpreet Kaur was also valuable, grabbing figures of 1/20 off three overs before striking up a valuable 24 not out with the bat in hand.
The ‘Gades will also be rapt with the initial innings from Jemimah Rodrigues, who joins Kaur in signing with the Renegades after an impressive stint with the Indian national team. Rodrigues knocked up 33 while opening the batting with Molineux, as the even contributions across the board being the key difference in the ‘Gades snatching the points.
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But at the end of the day, Wareham was the star of the show.
After a wonderful start to the summer of cricket which includes consistent outings against India in the Multi-Format series and a maiden baggy green cap in the day-night test match at Metricon Stadium, Wareham looked incredibly confident and assured in her skill set while at the crease. Giving the ball plenty of flight while also varying her pace to continually remain elusive to batters looking to get on top of her, Wareham proved she could be a weapon in both the powerplay and the middle overs.
The Victorian leg-spinner’s day began when she struck first to remove the dangerous Ruth Johnston just as she was starting to look dangerous, and continued when she claimed the prized scalp of Hurricanes’ recruit Mignon du Preez for only 5.
Wareham came back late to remove fellow Aussie spinner Molly Strano caught and bowled for four to finish with player of the match honours.
Having surprised one of the early title favourites in the Hurricanes, the Renegades have proven they have the consistency across their 11 to challenge for this year’s WBBL title, as long as Wareham can continue dazzling batters.
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