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In an exciting final over, Strikers defeat Heat to win consecutive WBBL championships.

Adelaide Strikers have pipped Brisbane Heat by three runs to claim consecutive WBBL titles in a nerve-jangling final. Chasing Adelaide’s 5-125, the Heat reached 8-122 in Saturday night’s decider at Adelaide Oval.

The Strikers emerged victorious in front of a record-breaking crowd of 12,379 spectators at an Adelaide women’s cricket game. This was the second-highest attendance for a standalone WBBL fixture, with the highest being 15,511 at the 2021 final in Perth.

Adelaide has joined Sydney Thunder, Sydney Sixers, and the Heat as winners of two WBBL championships. They recently won their latest trophy after a nail-biting match with a low score.

Adelaide’s highly praised bowlers were extremely stingy – under the leadership of captain Tahlia McGrath (2-16), they took wickets with back-to-back balls while Megan Schutt recorded figures of 2-30. The Strikers’ leg-spinner, Amanda-Jade Wellington, put on an exceptional performance with 3-16 – she bowled the last over with Brisbane requiring 13 runs to secure victory – and was awarded as the player of the match.

The final three balls for the Heat required 11 runs, and Mikayla Hinkley’s six sparked some hope. However, she was caught just two meters away from victory on the next ball. With five runs needed on the last ball, Nicola Hancock of the Heat, who had a great performance earlier with the ball, could only manage a single run.

The run chase for Brisbane was tense and uncertain, as they were at 2-54 after 10 overs. Adelaide’s captain McGrath took two wickets in a row in the 13th over, leaving Brisbane in a shaky position at 4-62. With five overs left, Brisbane needed 45 more runs to win. Amelia Kerr (30 not out from 32 balls) calmly guided the Heat through the intense final overs, but unfortunately they fell just short.

In the beginning, the Strikers’ hitters had a strong start but then lost their momentum. After 10 overs, they were at 2-71 but only managed to score an additional 54 runs. The Heat’s Nicola Hancock (3-23) performed exceptionally well, taking the first two wickets and getting one more towards the end.

Hancock successfully took out Katie Mack with a three-wicket haul in the second over. However, the Strikers bounced back thanks to a strong partnership of 66 runs between Laura Wolvaardt and captain McGrath. Wolvaardt was the leading scorer with 39 runs off 33 balls, while McGrath contributed 38 runs off 34 deliveries with six fours and a six.

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At the halfway point of the game, the captain was removed from play and after that, Adelaide struggled to make any progress. South African player Wolvaardt got out in the 15th over, causing a decline of 3-13 in just 18 balls. Heat captain Jess Jonassen (1-19) and Georgia Voll (1-19) also took wickets during this time.

Source: theguardian.com