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ESPNcricinfo Awards

ESPNcricinfo Awards 2023 women's T20 leagues bowling winner: Amanda-Jade Wellington's nerveless finish

When it came down to the crunch, she put the kibosh on Heat

Valkerie Baynes
Valkerie Baynes
As clutch moments go, they don't get much more defining than this. With Adelaide Strikers defending only 125, Wellington removed opener Georgia Redmayne to leave Heat at 43 for 2 in the eighth over of the chase. The match grew ever tighter and it came down to Heat needing 13 off the last over with four wickets in hand. Strikers turned to Wellington once again.
Georgia Voll tried to slog-sweep Wellington's third delivery, a flighted legbreak outside off stump, but succeeded only in skying the ball for a catch to midwicket. Mikayla Hinkley unleashed a six over long-on next ball to close the equation to five off the last two. Not only did Wellington remove Hinkley on the fifth ball, she denied Nicola Hancock's last-gasp attempt to win the match on the final ball - her attempted six skewed towards short third, where it dropped, yielding only a single.

Key moment

Heat No. 9 Hinkley - who had just smashed the first ball she faced for six - went for it again, sending Wellington's legspinner high towards long-off, where Jemma Barsby waited, just inside the boundary rope. Would this be six, the match, the culmination of the season… or would the fielder hold her nerve? As everyone held their breath, it turned out to be the last, and Brisbane were left needing five off the last ball of the final.

The numbers

3 Adelaide Strikers' margin of victory in runs, with zero balls remaining.
1 Wicket taken by Wellington in the 2022 WBBL final, with the last ball, to seal victory against Sydney Sixers.
4.00 Wellington's economy rate in the 2023 final.
What they said
"I thought it was out. I thought it was six. I thought it was out."
- Adelaide Strikers captain Tahlia McGrath
"If her [Hinkley's] second shot went for two more metres, that's a Heat victory. T20 cricket - a game of margins."
- Brisbane Heat captain Jess Jonassen

The closest contender

Hayley Matthews
3 for 5 vs Delhi Capitals, WPL final, Brabourne

Matthews' haul helped set up Mumbai Indians' seven-wicket victory in the inaugural WPL final and included the dangerous Jess Jonassen, caught-and-bowled for just 2 immediately after Matthews had spilled a return catch off her. Her third wicket, bowling Taniya Bhatia with a gem that turned in sharply from outside off to ping middle stump, sealed Matthews' position at the top of the competition's wicket-taking charts, with 16.

Valkerie Baynes is a general editor, women's cricket, at ESPNcricinfo