Perth Scorchers to host WBBL final at Optus Stadium after beating Sydney Sixers, finishing top

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Jordan McArdleThe West Australian
Perth Scorchers spinner Alana King and ‘keeper Beth Mooney celebrate a wicket.
Camera IconPerth Scorchers spinner Alana King and ‘keeper Beth Mooney celebrate a wicket. Credit: Mark Brake/Getty Images

Perth have earned direct entry and hosting rights for Saturday’s Women’s Big Bash League final at Optus Stadium after finishing their home-and-away season with a eight-wicket win over Sydney Sixers in Adelaide.

The Scorchers extended their unbeaten run to five, cruising to the modest target of 129 with 17 balls to spare to claim the minor premiership as they hunt an elusive WBBL title.

The re-vamped finals format sees the top side go straight through to the final for the first time rather than traditional semi-finals.

Leg-spinner Alana King (3-18 off four) continued her brilliant first tournament in orange, turning the game on its head with two wickets in her first three balls to help restrict the Sixers to 4-128 on great batting deck.

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 21: Chloe Piparo of the Perth Scorchers celebrates making her half centuryduring the Women's Big Bash League match between the Sydney Sixers and the Perth Scorchers at Adelaide Oval, on November 21, 2021, in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)
Camera IconChloe Piparo scored her maiden WBBL half century. Credit: Mark Brake/Getty Images

Chloe Piparo then guided the run chase on the way to a maiden WBBL half-century, finishing 50 not out off 39 balls.

Batting at first drop, Piparo combined with in-form power hitter Heather Graham (34 off 24) for an unbeaten third-wicket partnership of 74 off 55 balls.

For the second day in a row, the Scorchers got the job done without their star openers Beth Mooney (26 off 24) and Sophie Devine (18 off 16) hitting massive scores in a welcome sign ahead of finals.

Piparo backed up her important 27 in Saturday’s final-ball win over Melbourne Stars with another excellent knock.

Graham hit the winning runs with her fifth boundary, first ball of the 18th over.

After dropping a regulation chance to dismiss Alyssa Healy (17 off 22) off captain Sophie Devine, King made up for it by knocking her over and getting fellow opener Shafali Verma (27 off 22).

Healy and Verma put on 46 for the first wicket in 7.1 overs but things slowed down after that.

Former Scorchers Nicole Bolton, bowled for 19 off 21, was King’s next victim and 16th for the tournament with the ex-Melbourne Star having figures of 3-8 at one point before an expensive final over.

The Sixers at least finished their innings well, hitting 31 off the last three overs thanks to a handy Angela Reakes cameo of 22 from 17 balls and Australian allrounder Ellyse Perry (39no off 37) hitting a few late boundaries after a subdued start.

King was player of the match, with South African import Marizanne Kapp (0-18 off three), off-spinner Lilly Mills (0-6 off two) and seamers Graham (1-29 off four) and Taneale Peschel (0-25 off four) also doing their bit with the ball.

WA Cricket CEO Christina Matthews called for fans to pack out Optus Stadium as the Scorchers look to break a women’s attendance record in the State.

“Optus Stadium is a fitting choice for the final given the rise in popularity of the Scorchers and the WBBL, allowing the WA community to come out in full force,” Matthews said.

“We want to break the record for the highest attended stand-alone women’s sporting event in the State, which is currently 41,900 for the AFLW’s Derby Match held at the Optus Stadium, so I urge everyone to get down to the stadium this Saturday and cheer on the Scorchers.”

Tickets for the final go on sale on Monday morning from 9am.

Their opponents won’t be known until after The Challenger on Thursday night when second-placed Melbourne Renegades play the winner of The Eliminator — Brisbane Heat (third) v Adelaide Strikers (fourth) — on Wednesday night. Both of those games will be at Adelaide Oval.

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