WBBL07: Perth Scorchers cement finals spot thanks to Beth Mooney, Sophie Devine and Heather Graham heroics
Beth Mooney thought a Katie Mack-inspired Adelaide Strikers “had the game on the bag” before Perth Scorchers’ bowlers held their nerve late in the run chase at Karen Rolton Oval.
Mooney and Sophie Devine made the most of their early lives to power Perth to a 12-run win which cemented a WBBL finals spot.
The Scorchers posted 3-177 with Mooney (78 off 53 balls) and Devine (61 off 52) combining for their third century stand of the tournament and sixth since they joined the franchise.
In reply, the home side made 5-165 with the second-wicket pairing of Mack and Laura Wolvaardt giving Perth a scare before a brilliant running catch from Mathilda Carmichael off captain Devine midway through the 13th over turned the game on its head.
Mack was the game’s top-scorer with an unbeaten 61-ball 84 after Mooney missed two stumping chances off leg-spinner Alana King on 57 and 69, putting on 90 in 59 balls with Wolvaardt (40 off 28).
But the sky-rocketing required run rate was too much with allrounders Heather Graham and Devine (both 2-30 off four) holding their nerve at the death.
Power hitter Graham produced a brilliant all-round performance, landing hitting a couple of massive final-over sixes on her way to 22 off 11 balls after getting dropped on one, and followed it up with two wickets and as many catches.
“It was pretty difficult through the middle there when the ball got a bit old so we probably didn’t get as many runs through the middle as we would’ve liked,” Mooney said.
“I think ‘HG’ had a really incredible innings at the back end to get us to a defendable total.
“We saw that Adelaide did really well out there and I thought they had the game in the bag with five or six overs to go.
“It’s a hard ground to defend on and I thought our bowlers did a wonderful job.”
The win, to claim the Faith Thomas Trophy as part of the WBBL’s First Nations Round, saw the Scorchers jump from third to first on the ladder with two games left in the home-and-away season, with Melbourne Stars next up on Saturday.
Mooney and Devine’s 137-run partnership in 99 balls could have been finished in the first over of the match with Devine dropped by Dane van Niekerk in the slips on four off pace bowler Darcie Brown.
Four balls later, the Strikers missed a golden opportunity to run Mooney out on one when bowler Megan Schutt couldn’t hit the stumps at the strikers end after a mix-up between the two prolific openers.
In her 100th WBBL appearance, former Brisbane Heat batter Mooney made history on 30 when she became the first player to score 1000 runs for two different franchises.
The classy left-hander reached her 33rd half-century off 36 balls before continuing to lift the tempo, finishing with 10 boundaries before finally falling to medium-pacer Sarah Coyte.
Mooney leads the competition’s run-scoring with 497 at an average of 62.12, with Devine second on 384 at 38.4.
Devine was the wicket to fall with Australian quick Schutt getting the prized scalp midway through the 17th over, but not before the bulk of the damage was done.
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