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Tahlia McGrath on WBBL win - 'This is special for different reasons'

"This one has been a long time in the making," says Strikers' captain, who has also won the Ashes, ODI World Cup and CWG gold this year

Andrew McGlashan
Andrew McGlashan
Tahlia McGrath poses with the winner's trophy alongside coach Luke Williams  •  Cricket Australia via Getty Images

Tahlia McGrath poses with the winner's trophy alongside coach Luke Williams  •  Cricket Australia via Getty Images

Tahlia McGrath has won a lot this year: an Ashes, an ODI World Cup and a Commonwealth Games gold medal. Now, after two painful near-misses, she can add a WBBL title to that list.
Although the WBBL sides are distinct from the state teams, in reality they remain very close, particularly when it comes to playing squads. For McGrath, who was named Australia vice-captain last week, her whole career has been in South Australia, which meant there was a lot of meaning when she was able to hold aloft the trophy.
"That's a tough one, it has been a good run," she said when asked about where it sits alongside the national honours. "This one is special for different reasons. My home state, something I'm very passionate about, been there since day one. This one is pretty special. There's World Cups, there's Comm Games, but this is special for different reasons.
"This one has been a long time in the making. When you get so close so many times, you keep the same group together, you keep fighting and you finally get one. So this one is pretty special."
Adelaide Strikers had been on a 6am flight to Sydney on Friday morning following their Challenger victory over Brisbane Heat in Adelaide. McGrath said most of the squad had spent yesterday afternoon sleeping but perhaps the rapid turnaround helped them avoid overthinking the final.
Having been given a strong base with an opening stand of 51 between Laura Wolvaardt and Katie Mack, Strikers then laboured through the next 11 overs before Deandra Dottin, who was named Player of the Final, helped lift them to 147, still short of what is normally needed at North Sydney Oval.
But a remarkable start to Sydney Sixers' innings all but decided the contest. After dropping two catches in the same over, Strikers were able to remove Alyssa Healy for 1 and by the end of the sixth over, Sixers were 4 for 17, which included a double-wicket maiden for Dottin.
McGrath conceded it was not Strikers' best fielding display - although that was hardly top of her list of thoughts in the immediate aftermath - but insisted there was never any panic throughout the game as they looked to rebound from last season's 12-run defeat in the final against Perth Scorchers, a match that had almost identical totals to this year's decider.
"It was a sense of composure," she said. "There was a calmness around the team today, everyone was relaxed, everyone knew what they needed to do, we didn't get overawed by the occasion. We got off to a really good start, stumbled in the middle, then D-Dot [Dottin] was awesome at the end. We walked off thinking it was a little below par but at the same time there was enough in the wicket if we were disciplined enough, subtle changes of pace, [and the] best bowling attack in the league…
"It's never ideal dropping catches but, again, we just stayed calm... Our bowlers were amazing. I would back us to defend any total and once again they did the job today."

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo