Scorpions double stings Fury
South Australia ensured theirs was a very merry Christmas with two wins in two days against Western Australia at the Adelaide Oval 2. Shelley Nitschke was the star on Saturday with both bat and ball, then Emma Sampson's competition-best 4 for 27, plus a masterful second-wicket partnership of 136 between Karen Rolton (61) and Julie Woerner (57), sealed the double on Sunday.
Nitschke took 2 for 17 in a tight spell of spin, while Jenny Gunn's pace earned her 3 for 16, to squeeze Western Fury for 130 in their 30 overs of the rain-reduced opener. Nitschke then eased to 61 with a series of thrilling cover drives, and even offered two sixes over long-on. She and Kris Britt (36*) batted solidly, before Britt combined well with Gunn (21*) to work the ball round competently and see them home with seven wickets and 47 balls to spare.
On an unexpectedly cold Sunday, the home side brought some cheer for their vocal locals on the hill, as a rampant Sampson knocked over the Fury for 172, although that was some recovery from 6 for 63. Sampson had three lbw victims and also the keeper Alicia Dean caught a screamer low to her right. "Pretty happy with the bowling," Sampson said simply afterwards.
The visitors recovered to 172 but such total was far from enough as Rolton and Woerner charged towards their target in a dominant, and nearly chanceless, stand following the early loss of Nitschke. It was an excellent display of powerful, but controlled, driving and brought them home for the loss of only two wickets.
New South Wales were given a fright by Queensland in the opener on Saturday at the SCG, but came back strongly to post yet another double as they coursed even further ahead on the top of the table.
The Breakers, the defending champions, have won every match of the competition so far but were in some trouble at 4 for 47 after being sent in, their in-form batsmen Alex Blackwell and Lisa Sthalekar having been sent back by Cindy Kross. Alex's twin Kate stepped up instead, with a vital 41, as she and wunderkind Elysse Perry (37) added a steadying 68 for the fith wicket. They went on to make 189, as Kirsten Pike checked them with four wickets.
Rain then adjusted Queensland's target to 147 from 29 overs, which proved too much for the visitors. Sthalekar had three wickets, and there were two for Perry and Charlotte Anneveld.
Sunday's match was a much more straightforward affair. Their bowlers helped keep Queensland largely quiet, although Jodie Purves' fifty boosted them to 170. Sarah Andrews, Rene Farrell and Perry each bagged two, then Sarah Aley tidied up with 3 for 10. Sthalekar and Alyssa Healy then both made a topscore of 41 to see the home side home with nearly three overs to spare.
Jenny Thompson is an assistant editor at Cricinfo