Lanning drives Victoria to Twenty20 title
Victoria 5 for 161 (Lanning 74) beat New South Wales 9 for 157 (Poulton 76, Haynes 2-16) by 4 runs
The teenager Meg Lanning starred with the bat and in the field to help Victoria clinch their second consecutive Twenty20 Cup in a thrilling final against their rivals New South Wales. Victoria posted a strong total of 5 for 161 but after Leah Poulton's powerful 76 in the chase, the Breakers found themselves in with a chance, with the equation coming down to 20 needed from 10 balls.
But despite a six hit in the final over by Kara Sutherland, Victoria's veteran fast bowler Clea Smith held her nerve to send down a yorker with the last ball, when the Breakers required six more for victory. It meant back-to-back titles for the Spirit, who won the inaugural event last year, and they had the 18-year-old Lanning to thank.
She starred with 74 from 56 deliveries at the top of the order, batting superbly until she was deftly stumped by Alyssa Healy off the bowling of Sharon Millanta (2 for 29). A couple of late sixes from Victoria's captain Rachael Haynes, who made 15 from seven balls, ensured a healthy target, but it wasn't all plain sailing for the Spirit as Poulton chased hard.
She struck two sixes and nine fours in her 76 from 45 balls and despite losing partners all around her, she seemed set to guide the Breakers home when she fell with the score at 5 for 126 in the 16th over. Fittingly, it was Lanning who took an outstanding catch to remove Poulton off the bowling of Briana Binch, and from there it was all uphill for New South Wales.
Haynes brought herself on late in the innings and collected two vital wickets, and there were also two run-outs as desperation set in for the Breakers. "We were lucky to get Leah out in the end there and it turned the game for us," Haynes said. "Both teams are extremely talented and there's a lot of depth in women's cricket at the moment."
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo