Melbourne Stars played with inspiration and notched a win versus Brisbane Heat at the Junction Oval upsetting Brisbane Heat in the WBBL 2023. Maia Bouchier and Annabel Sutherland’s handy knocks ensured a competitive 156 on the board but it was Sophie Day and newly appointed skipper, Annabel Sutherland who struck back with the ball beautifully to ensure a famous win for the Stars.
Another major talking point was how the recently retired Meg Lanning did not take to the field owing to her indefinite break from the WBBL which was a jolt to the Stars. Opting to bat first on winning the toss, Melbourne Stars had the duo of Sophia Dunkley and Maia Bouchier give them a fine start.
Batting with a lot of finesse and unleashing an attacking instinct in a measured way, they sailed through the powerplay without much hassle as the scoreboard kept ticking. However, Amelia Kerr had other plans getting rid of the settled Sophia Dunkley for 37 off 24, a knock that saw her strike at 154.17 with three boundaries and three maximums in the thrilling match of the WBBL 2023.
However, with Alice Capsey joining Bouchier in the middle, the two excellently negotiated the Heat’s bowling and stabilised the ship. As Bouchier strick crucial boundaries and kept pushing outside her comfort zone, Capsey played perfect second fiddle and the Stars seemed on course for a big total.
Positive start ✨
— Melbourne Stars (@StarsBBL) November 19, 2023
A twist in the plot meant Bouchier was run out courtesy of Courtney Sippel’s excellent field work and with Capsey’s 24 off 36, the Stars looked in all sorts of trouble at 117/3 with still three overs to spare. With skipper Annabel Sutherland in the middle, her handy knock of 37 coming off 21 balls ensured that the Stars would have a total to defend.
Her innings were characteristic of a knock played with precision, balancing the aggression and defending when required that set her apart.
Striking at 176, she hit three boundaries and one maximum. And with Sophie Reid scoring 9 and Nicole Faltum hitting a boundary en route her cameo of 5, rest assured the Stars had a total of 156 to defend. For the Heat, it was Nicola Hancock and Amelia Kerr who stood apart with their scintillating bowling performances scalping two wickets and delivering when the team most needed them to.
With 157 to chase in the match of the WBBL 2023, the Heat had the experienced duo of skipper in place of the injured Jess Jonassen and wicketkeeper Georgia Redmayne and Grace Harris start off the proceedings. While a brisk start was a given and executed by the duo, the dismissal of Harris for 15 did not bode well for the team who wanted to chase the total down.
Sophie Day got the breakthrough and was bowling fantastic lengths to trick the batters. Amelia Kerr joined skipper Redmayne and the two were successful in getting regular boundaries and taking much-needed runs to meet the required rate criteria.
Daisy does it again!
— Weber Women's Big Bash League (@WBBL) November 19, 2023
Even as they batted on, an unfortunate run out of Redmayne for 32 by Sophie Reid derailed the run chase for the Heat. Amelia Kerr was the new batter who ensured that the chase was still in the mix of things and her knock of 36, she hit four crucial boundaries and as she looked to accelerate, Annabel Sutherland dismissed her. Then the wicket of Mignon du Preez for 17 further complicated the situation as the Heat were staring down the barrel four wickets down in the all-important game of the WBBL 2023.
Beth Heath partnered with Charli Knott and tried to keep the runs coming in but their dismissals in back-to-back overs were far from ideal. Georgia Voll with her 9 off 6 attempted to rebuild and chase down the total but her run out was the final nail in the coffin and with Mikayla Hinkley and Nicola Hancock remaining unbeaten, the Heat were handed a narrow 15-run loss.
This loss is tough for the Heat who may not make it to the knockouts. Sophie Day and Annabel Sutherland were the pick of the bowlers with three and two wickets to boast and it is a result that they will savour.
WBBL 2023: Melbourne Stars vs Brisbane Heat Brief Scores
Melbourne Stars 156 for 5 in 20 overs (Maia Bouchier 41, Annabel Sutherland 37, Sophia Dunkley 37; Kerr 2-21, Hancock 2-36) beat Brisbane Heat 141 for 7 in 20 overs (Amelia Kerr 36, Georgia Redmayne 32; Sophie Day 3-16, Annabel Sutherland 2-33) by 15 runs.