Renegades fall short against Thunder amid controversy

The Sydney Thunder scored what was the highest ever total in Women’s Big Bash League history – for a couple of hours anyway – on the way to beating the Melbourne Renegades in controversial fashion at North Sydney Oval on Saturday.

The Thunder were in devastating touch in the season opener, with Rachel Haynes (55 runs off 41 balls), youngster Naomi Stalenberg (38 off 25), Nicola Carey (47no off 17) and Rene Farrell (25no off 13) doing the majority of the damage.

Their total of 6-200 left the previous highest total of 3-190 (by the Brisbane Heat against the Sydney Sixers in December 2015) in its wake, but it was soon overhauled by the Sydney Sixers in their match against the Melbourne Stars on Saturday night.

But the Renegades didn’t lose through a lack of batting effort. They made a stunning 5-189 themselves. That total came on the back off Jess Duffin’s brutal innings (81 off 47) and brilliant supporting knocks by Sophie Molineux (25 off 14), Chamari Atapattu (42 off 30) and Emma Inglis (20 off 12).

The Renegades looked like they were going to chase down the score thanks mostly to Duffin’s knock, however she was controversially given out caught by the third umpire. She was caught by Lisa Griffith who was fielding at a close third man, however it was referred to the third umpire where replays showed the ball looked like it hit the ground.

Despite that, Duffin was given out, a dismissal that took the sting out of the Renegades’ chase and left them at 4-173 of 17.2 overs.

“I guess they sent it upstairs for a reason, so I will leave it at that,” Duffin said. “I thought it was up in the air, that’s why they did send it upstairs, that’s all a part of cricket isn’t it.”

It’s understood the word from the third umpire was that Griffith was in full control of the ball, despite the ball touching the ground, and therefore it was given out.

The Renegades needed 24 runs off the last two overs, which were expertly bowled by Rene Farrell and Stefanie Taylor. Taylor, needing to restrict the Renegades to under 15 runs off the last over, only conceded three runs in the end – as well as taking a wicket with the final ball of the match.

They had needed an imposing 125 runs off 67 balls at the start of the 10th over and 84 off 48 at the end of the 12th. Their batting was consistent across the whole 20 overs, except for the final two where the Thunder’s closing bowlers restricted well.

For the Thunder, Carey hit nine fours and one six in her powerful innings, including four consecutive fours off the first four balls she faced.

The first was a reverse pull shot, the second a neat cut, the third another reverse pull and the final a fine tickle to the boundary. Carey’s innings was even more impressive given the all-rounder had been in a lean scoring patch of late.

Bizarrely, given the total they ended up conceding, the Renegades had looked on song early in the match. They had the Thunder 4-41 after the dangerous Harmanpreet Kaur (8) was run out in truly extraordinary circumstances.

Prior to that Hayley Jensen had dismissed the first drop Alex Blackwell, Leah Tahuhu bowled the West Indies’ Stefanie Taylor and Molly Strano the opener Rachel Priest. All went in sloppy fashion.

But Kaur – who hit 171no against Australia for India in the 2017 Women’s World Cup semi-final – looked in brilliant touch at North Sydney Oval, hitting a particularly classy boundary to get her innings going.

However, when knocking a ball to mid-off her partner Haynes at the other end simply refused to run. Unfortunately for Kaur, she had committed to the single. This left both batsmen stranded at the non-strikers end and allowed Strano to complete the easiest of run outs.

That potentially disastrous incident didn’t have any negative impact on the Thunder’s performance, because it brought 23-year-old Stalenberg to the crease, who batted with aplomb.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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