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Prolific Mooney-Devine pairing shapes as key to WBBL final

Adelaide Strikers will back their impressive bowling attack to make their mark again

Tahlia McGrath and Sophie Devine with the WBBL trophy, Perth, November 26, 2021

Who takes it home? Tahlia McGrath and Sophie Devine with the WBBL trophy  •  Getty Images

Perth Scorchers import Sophie Devine is ready to carry Beth Mooney off the ground if her fellow star opener can put in one more heroic display in Saturday's WBBL final against the Adelaide Strikers.
Devine and Mooney have formed the best opening partnership in the WBBL, with the duo both named in the team of the season.
National team mainstay Mooney has plundered a league-leading 528 runs at an average of 52.80 and a strike rate of 132 for the Scorchers this season, while New Zealander Devine has scored 407 runs at an average of 33.92.
The duo loom as key figures against a powerful Strikers' bowling attack that has strangled the Brisbane Heat and Melbourne Renegades in back-to-back elimination final wins.
A top of 36 degrees is forecast for Perth on Saturday, but Devine is confident Mooney will be able to handle both the heat and the Strikers' attack.
"She's an absolute machine," Devine said. "It probably doesn't look like it at times in the past. I think I was watching replays of her in the Heat colours - she was crawling pretty much in between overs.
"But she's an absolute champion. She's done this time and time again - not just in Australian colours, but for the Scorchers and for the Heat as well. I've got no doubt about her preparation. She's the ultimate professional, she knows what she needs to do.
"Fingers crossed she has a big one out there. If I have to carry her off, so be it, I'll take that."
Strikers captain Tahlia McGrath was straight to the point when asked about the key to beating the Scorchers.
"For us it's about breaking the partnership of Soph and Moons really early. That's going to be a crucial decider in the game," she said.
While the Scorchers earned direct passage into the final after finishing on top of the table, the fourth-placed Strikers had to win two elimination games in the space of two days to get there.
Adelaide thrashed the Heat on Wednesday and destroyed the Renegades on Thursday before making the flight to Perth on Friday. McGrath is adamant her team won't enter the decider weary.
"Everyone was full of energy at the airport this morning," McGrath said. "There's a lot of belief, there's a lot of fight in the group. It's a dream group to captain when everyone knows their role and performs. We've definitely got one more left in us."
The Scorchers are hopeful of attracting a crowd in excess of 42,000 for the match at Optus Stadium.