Recent Match Report – Strikers vs Heat Final 2023/24


Adelaide Strikers 125 for 5 (Wolvaardt 39, McGrath 38, Hancock 3-23) beat Brisbane Heat 122 for 8 (Kerr 30*, Wellington 3-16)

Adelaide Strikers claimed back-to-back WBBL titles after their star-studded attack superbly defended a low total to thwart Brisbane Heat in a nerve-jangling final.

Strikers had been limited to 125 for 5 at the Adelaide Oval after being shackled by disciplined Heat bowling and inventive captaincy from Jess Jonassen.

But on a slow surface under lights, the final was on a knife’s edge when Heat slumped to 62 for 4 after seamer Tahlia McGrath dismissed Mignon du Preez and Laura Harris on consecutive deliveries in the 13th over.

Strikers appeared set to rue missed chances to dismiss Amelia Kerr and Charli Knott in the 16th over. But seamer Megan Schutt dismissed Knott and Jonassen as Heat were left needing 13 runs off the final over.

Legspinner Amanda-Jade Wellington dismissed Georgia Voll on the third delivery before Mikayla Hinkley hit a first ball six as Heat required five runs off the last two deliveries.

But Hinkley fell next ball and Wellington cooly denied Nicola Hancock‘s attempts at a match-winning six as a crowd of 12,379 fans erupted in jubilation.

Strikers’ remarkable victory thwarted Heat, who were playing their third game in five days. A late season slump had cost them a home final, but third-placed Heat reached the final after beating Sydney Thunder and Perth Scorchers on consecutive days at the WACA.

But a well-rested Strikers, who had the week off, finished stronger to clinch a title defence with a 10th win from their last 11 games.

Much of the pre-match talk had been centred around Strikers’ strong attack against Heat’s powerful batting line-up. But that battle had to wait after McGrath elected to bat in good batting conditions.

Much like during the two finals at the WACA, Heat exploited bounce in the surface with Hancock bowling in-form Katie Mack in the second over.

But McGrath countered with a superb cover drive boundary to get off the mark in style as she peeled off a trio of fours in her first nine balls. Her assertiveness ignited opener Laura Wolvaardt, who hit three boundaries in a row off Jonassen capped by a horror misfield in the outfield by Voll.

Strikers recovered to reach 34 for 1 after the powerplay as an intriguing tactical battle was playing out. Six different bowlers were used in as many overs to start the match as Jonassen kept rotating her bowlers in one-over spells in a bid to unsettle the batters.

The tactic eventually did the trick as Heat pegged back Strikers before Hancock produced an innings-changing over in the 10th over. She bowled an unrelenting back of a length line which left McGrath rattled after top-edging into her helmet and requiring medical attention.

In the last delivery before drinks, Hancock hit the top of McGrath’s off bail after the batter charged down the pitch as Heat gained a stranglehold.

Strikers only mustered 54 runs in the last 10 overs with Wolvaardt unable to rediscover her earlier rhythm and she was left frustrated on 39 after being stumped off Jonassen.

In a bid for a late rally, Strikers took the power surge but Bridget Patterson fell on the first ball of the 17th over as their innings withered away.

Heat had one hand on the title, but needed to get past an attack rated as the WBBL’s best. Opener Grace Harris particularly relished an early boundary against Schutt who she had delivered a barb to in the match’s lead-up.

Strikers’ hopes sank when Harris, who ignited Heat in the Perth finals with belligerent batting, was dropped on 13 by Madeline Penna at first slip off returning quick Darcie Brown.

But Harris fell shortly later when she holed out after failing to connect on a short delivery from offspinner Jemma Barsby. On a turning surface, Wellington proved a handful and dismissed opener Georgia Redmayne in the eighth over as Strikers clawed back.

Heat were unable to get the ball away in the middle overs as the pressure heightened when du Preez and Harris were bowled on consecutive deliveries by McGrath.

Having been badly dropped by Mack at deep midwicket in the 16th over, Knott fell shortly after to Schutt as the twists continued until the final ball.

Tristan Lavalette is a journalist based in Perth


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