• Dane’s heroics can’t stop Heat clinching title

    Proteas skipper Dane van Niekerk starred with bat and ball in the final of the Women’s Big Bash League, but her efforts weren’t enough to win her side the trophy, writes SIMON LEWIS.

    Van Niekerk’s table-topping Sydney Sixers were undone by the Brisbane Heat in a thrilling finale to the 2018-19 Women’s Big Bash League that saw the match go down to the last over.

    A sluggish but decent pitch was superbly exploited by the Heat bowlers, who performed superbly to keep a lid on the Sixers, who have been the tournament’s most potent batting lineup.

    Delissa Kimmince bowled the dangerous Alyssa Healy for 18 off 13 balls, after which Ellyse Perry provided strength to the innings with 33 off 37 balls, but the Sixers couldn’t get a grip on the Heat as they struggled to bat at six runs to the over.

    A late flurry from Proteas Women skipper Dane van Niekerk pushed the Sixers up to a more competitive (but far from daunting) total of 131-7 off their 20 overs. Not for the first time this season, Van Niekerk brought out the big guns with the bat to drive her side forward, scoring 32 off 15 balls (2×4, 2×6, S/R 213.33).

    Grace Harris snapped up 3-23 while Kimmince’s 2-25 was equally valuable in keeping the Sixers batters under wraps.

    Beth Mooney played with fire and guile to take her side past 100 in the 15th over before she fell for 65 off just 46 balls (9×4, S/R 141.30). Mooney had rescued her side from 14-2 in the third over, adding 84 for the third wicket with Heat skipper Kirby Short (29 off 35 balls, 2×4, S/R 82.85), the pair being the only Heat batters to make it into double figures as the Sixers fought with all their might to secure a hat-trick of WBBL titles.

    With 15 runs required off the last 12 balls, Proteas Women batter Laura Wolvaardt secured the bragging rights over her national skipper Van Niekerk by hammering her for seven of the 10 runs off the second last over before being run out, thanks to excellent work in the deep by Marizanne Kapp.

    Laura Harris scored the winning boundary off the second ball of the last over, bowled by Kapp, to secure a thrilling end to what has been a great Women’s Big Bash League season.

    Erin Burns (2-25, econ 6.25) and Van Niekerk (2-34, econ 8.50) weighed in with crucial wickets, but Kapp’s return of 1-16 (econ 4.80) off her 3.2 overs was a superb effort in the face of defending a small target.

    ‘What a day,’ said Heat captain Short after the match. ‘We’ve believed in an 11 person performance and that’s what has set us apart. To Ellyse, there’s a reason you’re always in a WBBL final, and even when we only had a run a ball to get, you always pushed us, so thank you for a great contest today. You’re an incredible team.

    ‘Proud is the word that comes to mind, thinking about our team. And girls, be proud that under the pump we stood up and became champions,’ she added.

    ‘I just told myself we need to stay in the middle and we needed a good partnership, and Kirby and I generally do a good job of that,’ reflected Player of the Match Mooney after the excitement of the final over. ‘The team’s been really amazing. Several of them have come out of their shells and it’s been a great pleasure to watch them evolve.’


    Photo: Brett Hemmings/Getty Images

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    Simon Lewis