The Adelaide Strikers cemented their position inside the top two over the weekend. (Photo: @StrikersBBL Twitter)

The last weekend of the regular season saw four teams secure a spot in the WBBL|08 finals, ending the campaigns of other franchises in the process.

The Inner Sanctum recaps all the results and the biggest talking points of round six of WBBL|08. 

Round 6 Results:

Adelaide Strikers (2-155) defeated the Hobart Hurricanes (154) by eight wickets

Strikers: Tahlia McGrath 91*, Katie Mack 29, Jemma Barsby 3-27, Amanda-Jade Wellington 2-40

Hurricanes: Mignon du Preez 75, Ruth Johnston 25, Nicola Carey 1-11, Hayley Jensen 1-30

Sydney Sixers (6-178) defeated the Sydney Thunder (7-160) by 18 runs

Sixers: Ashleigh Gardner 85, Ellyse Perry 45, Kate Peterson 3-27, Sophie Ecclestone 2-28

Thunder: Tammy Beaumont 51, Phoebe Litchfield 30, Sam Bates 3-21, Sammy-Jo Johnson 1-33

Melbourne Stars (8-179) defeated the Perth Scorchers (7-173) by six runs

Stars: Lauren Winfield-Hill 36, Sasha Moloney 28*, Alice Capsey 3-37, Kim Garth 1-20

Scorchers: Chloe Piparo 34, Sophie Devine 27, Amy Edgar 3-27, Piepa Cleary 2-18

Melbourne Renegades (4-58) defeated the Perth Scorchers (2-46) by six wickets (DLS method)

Renegades: Erica Kershaw 34*, Courtney Webb 10, Shabnim Ismail 1-12, Ella Hayward 1-19

Scorchers: Sophie Devine 24*, Marizanne Kapp 13*, Lilly Mills 3-9, Alana King 1-11

Sydney Sixers (2-157) defeated the Hobart Hurricanes (156) by eight wickets

Sixers: Ellyse Perry 56*, Ashleigh Gardner 45*, Kate Peterson 3-31, Ellyse Perry 2-16

Hurricanes: Mignon du Preez 38, Heather Graham 30, Ruth Johnston 1-30, Hayley Jensen 1-32

Brisbane Heat (5-104) v Melbourne Stars (1-49) – No result

Heat: Danielle Wyatt 52, Grace Harris 13, Amelia Kerr 1-4

Stars: Lauren Winfield-Hill 22*, Sophie Reid 19, Sasha Moloney 2-12, Sophie Day 2-19

Adelaide Strikers (4-144) defeated the Sydney Thunder (118) by 26 runs

Strikers: Laura Wolvaardt 75*, Deandra Dottin 23, Megan Schutt 6-19, Deandra Dottin 2-20

Thunder: Tammy Beaumont 37, Chloe Tryon 22, Hannah Darlington 2-36, Sam Bates 1-29

Kate Peterson (right) has picked up 10 wickets across her last three appearances for the Sydney Sixers. (Photo: @SixersBBL Twitter)

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Five Talking Points

1. Locked and loaded

An entertaining weekend’s action finalised the exact make-up of the fast-approaching WBBL|08 finals campaign. 

The Sydney Sixers cemented top spot thanks to wins over the Thunder and Hurricanes, propelling them straight to the Final. Meanwhile, the second-placed Adelaide Strikers will face either the Heat or Hurricanes in The Challenger. 

It took until the very last match of the regular season for the second, third and fourth positions to be confirmed. A vital victory for the Strikers against the struggling Thunder booked them a place in The Eliminator, leaving the Brisbane Heat outside the top two on net run rate. 

Had it not been for lightning and persistent rain in Moe, the Heat may just have secured second spot, with their clash against the Melbourne Stars ending with no result. 

For the Hobart Hurricanes, they will be hoping to bounce back from some recent poor results, having lost both of their final-round matches over the weekend.

2. Reigning champions bow out

Two narrow defeats in consecutive days for the Perth Scorchers mean that they will play no part in the upcoming finals series. Despite occupying a position in the top four for the majority of the campaign, the Scorchers’ fate was sealed in Moe by the Melbourne Stars and the Melbourne Renegades over the weekend.

A six-run loss against the Stars left Shelley Nitschke’s troops needing a victory on the last day in order to keep their finals hopes alive. However, the Renegades had other ideas, claiming an unlikely win in a rain-effected match to extinguish the Scorchers’ title defence aspirations. 

At one stage, the Scorchers appeared in the box seat to collect the all-important two points, with the Renegades languishing at 4-15. Yet an unbeaten 34 runs off 18 balls from Erica Kershaw shifted the course of the contest, guiding her side to victory with three balls to spare.

The Scorchers’ early exit in WBBL|08 means that they have failed to join the Sydney Sixers and Brisbane Heat as the only teams to have won back-to-back titles since the competition’s inception. 

3. Anesu Mushangwe makes her mark

Making her WBBL debut for the Adelaide Strikers, Zimbabwe leg-spinner Anesu Mushangwe quickly put her best foot forward against the Hurricanes. The 26-year-old’s rise to the WBBL is a remarkable story, becoming the first ever Zimbabwe representative to earn a WBBL contract. 

Mushangwe was handed the responsibility of bowling the first over of the match, conceding just five runs. She then proceeded to take a catch to remove the dangerous Lizelle Lee, before going on to pick up her maiden WBBL wicket in the form of Rachel Trenaman

The leg-spinner ultimately finished with figures of 1-21 off 3.4 overs, in what was an impressive display on debut. 

Despite losing her spot in the Strikers line-up days later, Mushangwe showed plenty of promise to suggest that she will feature heavily in the WBBL in the years to come.

4. Stunning Sixers turnaround

After finishing WBBL|07 at the foot of the table, the Sydney Sixers have swiftly changed their fortunes this season, leaving them only a win away from a record third WBBL title. Remarkably, the Sixers (23 points) are the only team in WBBL history to have collected more than 20 points in a campaign. 

A victory over local rivals the Sydney Thunder on Friday night solidified the top spot for the Sixers, granting them hosting rights to the WBBL|08 final set to be played on November 26 at North Sydney Oval. 

Boasting several players in terrific form with both bat and ball, the Sixers will be hard to beat in the final. From a batting perspective, Ellyse PerryAshleigh GardnerAlyssa Healy, and Suzie Bates all presently sit within the top ten run-scorers for WBBL|08.

Meanwhile, on the bowling front, the spin duo of Gardner and Sophie Ecclestone have combined for 41 wickets across the tournament thus far. The pair have been well supported by left-arm seamer Lauren Cheatle, who has picked up 15 wickets. 

Notably, the Sixers currently find themselves in the midst of a five-game winning streak, indicating significant momentum leading into next Saturday’s final.

Can the team in magenta be toppled?

5. Rachael Haynes denied fairytale finish

Rachael Haynes’ decorated professional cricket career reached its conclusion over the weekend, with the Sydney Thunder captain retiring as one of the stalwarts of Australian women’s cricket.  

The Thunder weren’t able to send off their skipper with a win, succumbing to a superior Adelaide Strikers outfit. Megan Schutt spoiled the celebrations, collecting an incredible 6/19 off 3.3 overs to secure the record for the best figures in WBBL history.

Regardless of the result, Haynes walks away from the professional game as one of the most prolific batters in white-ball cricket. The 35-year-old currently ranks ninth for runs scored in the WBBL (2142 runs), whilst she has also amassed a total of 3435 runs at the international level in limited-overs cricket. 

However, Haynes’ contributions to cricket extend beyond just her own individual batting feats, highlighted by her role as vice-captain of the Australian Women’s Cricket Team for a long period of time. 

WBBL|08 finals action kicks off with a clash between the Brisbane Heat and the Hobart Hurricanes in The Eliminator on Wednesday night.  

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