Melboune Renegades 5 for 128 (Wyatt 40, Britt 35) beat Melbourne Stars 7 for 127 (Sciver 37, Strano 2-20) by five wickets
Melbourne Renegades, languishing at the bottom of the WBBL table, upset the finals aspirations of their crosstown rivals Melbourne Stars, for the second-successive Saturday in the WBBL.
Renegades victory - their third on the spin - was built on a tight bowling performance, led by Lea Tahuhu and Molly Strano, and finished with a calm chase, in which Danielle Wyatt made 40 and Kris Britt 35 as they shared 75 for the third wicket before both fell with victory in sight.
Stars' missed opportunity
The Stars were left to rue their middling total of 127 for seven. All of their top four got in, looked settled and ready to go big, but failed to kick on.
Meg Lanning may have inside-edged Tahuhu past her stumps for four off the match's first ball, but she and Emma Inglis were just beginning to get going when they fell in consecutive balls at the end of the powerplay. The excellent Strano bowled Inglis, then Tahuhu - bowling her fourth over in the seventh of the innings - found a pearler to dismiss Lanning. It pitched on off, then nipped away, beating Lanning's outside edge and taking the off peg. Stars were 35 for two.
Still, Natalie Sciver joined Jess Cameron and together they shared 56, with Sciver raiding Nicole Goodwin's only over for 18, including a brilliantly violent slog-swept six off a no-ball. Once again, a strong position - 90 for two with six overs to go - was surrendered by one bad over. The 15th, the second of a fine spell from Wyatt, brought about their downfall. Cameron picked out long-off, then Sciver was sent back by Katie Mack - who should have deferred to the set batsman - and run out by a mile. Mack and Hayley Jensen shared 32 runs before three wickets fell in three balls in the final over, but the opportunity to accelerate had been missed.
Goodwin's costly over aside, this was a fine bowling and fielding performance from Renegades. Wyatt and Maitlan Brown bowled four tight overs each, but the key contributions came from those who broke the opening partnership, Tahuhu and Strano. It's rare to see a player bowl their four overs up top, but it was obvious why Rachel Priest kept Tahuhu on: the New Zealand international was bowling sharp bouncers with real pace (about 120kph) and unsettling Lanning. Strano, on the other hand, bowled three tight overs before returning at the death. Jensen stepped across her stumps to try to exploit a gap at fine-leg but was bowled, then Emma Kearney and Kristen Beams were run out, the latter by a brilliant throw from Tahuhu.
The chilled chase - almost
Priest and Sophie Molineux - who has improved through the tournament's progress - got the Renegades off to a calm start before falling in quick succession. It will be tough to find a prettier 23 than Molineux's here - full, as it was, with deft cuts and powerful pulls - but she was caught at mid-on and Priest followed next over. Never mind, the impish Wyatt and more powerful Britt picked up the baton, growing into their 11-over partnership to leave Renegades' victory beyond doubt.
Triscari's tricks of the trade
Renegades' best bowling came courtesy of Gemma Triscari's left-arm trickery, but the strength of Wyatt and Britt's partnership was their ability to pick their targets. Wyatt licked her lips at the introduction of Alana King's legspin, and walloped her down the ground for consecutive fours. Triscari's penultimate delivery - her last over was the 17th - gave her the deserved wicket of Wyatt, hitting to mid-on, while Britt carelessly ran herself out and, with three required, Grace Harris slapped to cover. Strano, who looks every inch a future Southern Star, calmly saw Renegades home.
Renegades, having played ten (the joint-most in the competition) of their 14 games, now sit just half a point back from four teams - including the Stars, who are fourth, but have lost four in a row