An incredible brain fade led to the first super over of this season’s WBBL, before Sophie Devine stole a thrilling win for the Perth Scorchers.
With the Brisbane Heat needing 10 runs off the final over, South African Nadine de Klerk strayed out of her crease at the nonstriker’s end and found herself run out with one ball remaining.
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Her fellow South African, Anneke Bosch, almost came to the rescue in the super over as she hit Marizanne Kapp – another South African – for 12 runs.
But it wasn’t enough as Devine made light of the pressure, hitting two sixes off Jess Jonassen to power the Scorchers home with two balls of the super over remaining.
Seven commentator Andy Maher called the first ball “an inconceivably bad delivery,” with his co-commentator adding: “mind-boggling. Shocker.”
“Unfortunately I didn’t execute with the ball, but it’s one of those things that you learn from every time,” Jonassen said.
Beth Mooney carried her superb form into the WBBL as the Scorchers’ opener set up the win.
Mooney was one of Australia’s stars of their multi-format series win against India and, in Perth’s first match of the tournament, showed why she’s the world’s best batter with a crucial knock of 40.
It was set to be a tough start to the tournament for the Scorchers, who had to delay their flight into Hobart because of the snap three-day lockdown in southern Tasmania.
Despite the Covid scare, all four scheduled WBBL matches went ahead over the weekend at Blundstone Arena in front of empty stands and with the players forced into yet another biosecurity bubble.
But those watching were treated to a dramatic finish, as Brisbane bottled its chase before the match was decided by a super over.
“Just a bit of rust, a bit of cobwebs, for the first game,” Jonassen said.
“By no means panic stations, but it was definitely one that was there to win. Hopefully we can review that game and turn it around.”
It was a welcome return to action for Heat skipper Jonassen, who claimed the wicket of the dangerous Devine (19) with her very first ball of the season.
Jonassen missed Australia’s series against India with a lower leg injury, but the spinning all rounder was immediately back to her best.
She also dismissed Chamari Athapaththu (14) and Matilda Carmichael (5) to end with super figures of 3/16.
Despite the Scorchers’ batting firepower, it was the world’s top-ranked T20 batter Beth Mooney who kept their innings respectable with a well played knock of 40.
“She set the standard from the very beginning,” said former Australia captain Alex Blackwell.
“Even though she’s been out of the game for a while she’ll hit the ground running, which she did.”
But, with the Heat’s Grace Harris on the mic, Mooney was eventually bowled by Indian leg spinner Poonam Yadav.
“Everyone has their run of form – it does come down eventually,” Harris said of Mooney’s ranking.
“Told you she’s not perfect.”
A crucial cameo of 20 not out from Chloe Piparo at the end of the innings saw the Scorchers set Brisbane a modest 138 runs to win.
In reply, Harris and Jonassen traded sixes before the Heat’s chase hit a wobble.
Lilly Mills and the spin of Alana King left Brisbane in strife and, with both sides struggling with the pressure, the match was forced into a super over.
Grace on the mic
The always entertaining Grace Harris provided some fascinating insight into her own bowling when she was mic’d up for an over.
“I just fed that to her,” she said after Chamari Athapaththu hit her for six.
Harris continued to talk herself through every ball, a habit she’s formed, “to make sure all my ideas aren’t kept inside”.
The entertainment value of the WBBL continues to be a treat for cricket fans.
Once again Jess Jonassen and Poonam Yadav showed the value of spin bowling in the shortest format of the game, particularly in the powerplay. They took five crucial wickets between them as Perth’s power-hitting openers struggled to get on top of the spin.
But it was the Scorchers’ own spinner Alana King, who claimed 2/24 at the back end of the innings and went on to change the course of the match.