WOMEN’S BIG BASH LEAGUE 2018-19
Cricbuzz Staff •
Ellyse Perry hit the second century of WBBL 2018-19. © Getty
Ellyse Perry hit the second century of WBBL 2018-19 as defending champions Sydney Sixers opened their account with a convincing six-wicket win over Perth Scorchers. Chasing 168 in their first home game of the season, Sixers were led by Perry’s unbeaten 102 while Dane van Niekerk (32 not out) and Ashleigh Gardner (26) played supporting roles.
Sixers were jolted early in the tall chase, losing the in-form Alyssa Healy in the second over with just eight runs on the board. However, Perry took charge and along with Gardner, put Sixers’ innings back on track. The skipper took maximum strike in her 80-run partnership for the second wicket, bringing up her fifty off just 34 deliveries with the first of the back to back boundaries in the 10th over.
Even though Sixers pulled off the chase comfortably, there were a few hiccups on the way. Heather Graham struck twice on successive deliveries to begin the 11th over. She took out Gardner, who chipped in 26 off 22 in her stand with Perry, and then cleaned up Hobart Hurricanes’ recruit Erin Burns first ball. Sara McGlashan survived the hat-trick ball but didn’t make any noticeable contribution to the chase.
That brought Van Niekerk in to the middle. The South African shared an unbeaten 70-run partnership with her captain, mostly playing second fiddle to Perry who did not let the momentum slip despite the three quick wickets. The 28-year-old continued to take on both pace and spin with equal ease. The scores were levelled with Perry two away from her hundred, and the captain finished it off with a hit straight down the ground for a 14th boundary in her 59-ball sensational knock.
Earlier, it was van Niekerk’s three-fer and Lauren Smith’s two-wicket haul that triggered a late collapse in Scorchers’ innings to keep them to 167 despite a flying start by the top-order. Opting to bat, Scorchers were going at over 10 an over with Elyse Villani and Amy Jones adding 77 for the opening partnership in 7.4 overs. Sarah Alley got Sixers the breakthrough in the eight over, but Jones combined with Nicole Bolton to continue the attack. Her 57 came off just 29 deliveries, and was studded with eight hits to the fence and two over it.
Van Niekerk cleaned up Jones to apply some breaks on the free-flowing Scorchers. Even as Bolton and Kate Cross tried to rebuild, the South African skipper took out the latter and then the new batter in, Lauren Ebsary in the space of three deliveries to reduce the visitors to 144 for 5. With a well-set Bolton in the middle, Scorchers would have still gotten to 180, or more, but for Smith’s double strike in the 19th over. From a comfortable 144 for 3 in the 15th over, Scorchers slid to finish with 167 for 9 from their allotted overs.
Brief scores: Perth Scorchers 167/9 in 20 overs (Amy Jones 57, Nicole Bolton 40; Dane van Niekerk 3-32, Lauren Smith 2-12) lost to Sydney Sixers 171/4 (Ellyse Perry 102*, Dane van Niekerk 32*; Heather Graham 2-33) by six wickets.