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'This team is a proper team' - McGrath praises Adelaide Strikers' fight to defend title

Amanda-Jade Wellington was confident she could defend 10 runs in the final over

Adelaide Strikers celebrate the winning moment  •  Getty Images

Adelaide Strikers celebrate the winning moment  •  Getty Images

Tahlia McGrath lauded the all-round efforts of her team after Adelaide Strikers went back-to-back in the WBBL with a thrilling three-run victory in the final at Adelaide Oval.
In a match that came down to the final ball, legspinner Amanda-Jade Wellington held her nerve, having been lofted for six by Mikayla Hinkley, to bring the requirement down to five off two balls.
But Hinkley fell agonisingly short of another six next ball, caught at long-off by Jemma Barsby, then Nicola Hancock couldn't hit the boundary off the last that would have either won the match or earned a Super Over.
It was another display of the strength of Strikers' bowling attack, which had been the best during the regular season, with Megan Schutt, Darcie Brown and McGrath herself all coming to the fore.
"I'm going to use my quote from last year because it is the exact same, that was pretty bloody special," she said at the presentation. "We called it last year. We were sitting in the changerooms, we said we're not done, we want to go back-to-back. And we've had that fight, that determination all year.
"This team is a proper team. There's no individuals, no ego. We know our role. We show up, day in, day out and it's a lot of fun playing with this team."
Speaking to Fox Cricket moments after the title was secured, Schutt admitted that Strikers' total had looked under par but that McGrath had given them belief.
"[I'm] a bit emotional to be honest. A few tears out there," she said. "We set out a bold goal last year to go back-to-back and to achieve it is amazing. Running out there, 125 didn't look good but Tahlia said it was a tricky pitch after batting for the longest. We were confident if we could bowl well we could defend it."
The final was played in front of 12,379 spectators which made it the second highest for a standalone WBBL fixture behind the 2021 final at Optus Stadium in Perth. And for the second year in a row, Wellington was entrusted with the final over.
"I'm just overwhelmed with joy," she told reporters. "Two years in row to have the faith to bowl the last over is pretty special. For me, I love those moments, especially when there's a crowd behind me and my team are backing him. I was feeling [the pressure] from the 17th over, especially when the [power] surge was happening. Was looking at the scoreboard taking note of how many runs I needed to defend off the last and thought anything over 10 I had in the bag."
Brisbane Heat captain Jess Jonassen praised the performances of Strikers, terming them the "benchmark" of the competition, but looked crestfallen at not being able to chase 126.
"To our girls, commiserations. I'm super proud of you all, we've worked very hard just to get to this moment," she said. "Keep your heads up, I know it hurts, but we'll be back bigger and better and stronger next year."