Heat, Strikers win as WBBL race hots up for top spot

Joel Gould |

Bess Heath (l) and Georgia Redmayne (r) set up Brisbane’s WBBL win over Hobart.
Bess Heath (l) and Georgia Redmayne (r) set up Brisbane’s WBBL win over Hobart.

The race for top spot on the WBBL ladder remains intense after wins to the Adelaide Strikers and Brisbane Heat.

Half-centuries to Brisbane Heat duo Georgia Redmayne and Bess Heath set up a 53-run win over Hobart Hurricanes to take them to 14 points, equal with Perth Scorchers and defending champions Adelaide. 

The Strikers bowlers were outstanding in a six-wicket win over Sydney Thunder, now in fourth on 13 points, with stylish Adelaide opening batter Laura Wolvaardt (47 off 45) leading the successful run chase at Karen Rolton Oval.  

After being sent in at Allan Border Field, the Heat’s impressive total of 5-184 was driven by opener Redmayne (70 off 53) and No.3 Heath (51 off 26) in a 92-run stand for the second wicket.

The Hurricanes started well in pursuit and were 0-48 in the sixth over before the Heat bowlers turned the screws with relentless pressure to bowl the visitors out for 131.

Heat skipper Jess Jonassen (4-20) returned her best figures for the season.

England wicketkeeper-batter Heath was given her first opportunity up the order and made the most of it with a blazing knock.

The visitors had a shocker in the field to start the innings and dropped five catches.

Heath was a beneficiary. Given an early life, the 22-year-old was in an aggressive mood.

Her strength square of the wicket came to the fore with strong pulls and cuts. She was also severe on the spinners and lofted Ruth Johnston for consecutive sixes down the ground.

“There had been discussions around putting me in early during the powerplay to try and play that hitting role,” Heath told AAP.

“I like to create momentum and go after the ball.

“They backed me to go out and play my style of cricket so it was good to get some runs and a win.”

Player of the match Redmayne played the type of innings she made her own last season for the Heat when she was the side’s leading run scorer. She drove elegantly, cut and pulled clinically and ticked over the strike.

Former South Africa captain Mignon du Preez (26no) played a handy late cameo for the Heat against her former team.

Lizelle Lee (24 off 18) and Bryony Smith (28 off 19) gave the Hurricanes a blistering early start in the run chase but once they were dismissed wickets fell regularly. 

The Strikers have a bowling attack which boasts economy and variety and as a collective they found their groove to restrict the Thunder to 6-118.

Zimbabwe international Anesu Mushangwe (2-29) began her spell with a double-wicket maiden. 

Veteran fast bowler Megan Schutt (2-25) and skipper Tahliah McGrath (1-12) kept it tight.

In-form Thunder opener Chamari Athapaththu (43 off 40) was graceful but well contained by the bowlers.

The Strikers paced their run chase to perfection.

Wolvaardt and opening partner Katie Mack (26)  anchored the innings and Bridget Patterson (36no) finished the win off superbly despite the best efforts of spinner Lauren Smith (3-16)