Adelaide Oval Strikers celebrations
Adelaide Strikers enjoying their victory in the WBBL final over Brisbane Heat at the Adelaide Oval. Image by Matt Turner/AAP PHOTOS
  • cricket

Adelaide down Brisbane to win consecutive WBBL titles

Steve Larkin December 2, 2023

The Adelaide Strikers have pipped Brisbane Heat by three runs to claim consecutive WBBL titles.

Chasing Adelaide’s 5-125, the Heat reached 8-122 in Saturday night’s final at Adelaide Oval.

The Strikers triumphed before 12,379 spectators, the largest crowd ever for a women’s cricket game in Adelaide.

The crowd was the second-highest for a WBBL standalone fixture, behind the 15,511 who attended the 2021 final in Perth.

Adelaide join Sydney Thunder, Sydney Sixers and the Heat as winners of two WBBL crowns.

Their latest trophy was collected after a low-scoring, nerve-jangler when the Heat literally fell two metres short of victory.

After Adelaide’s much-vaunted bowlers Tahlia McGrath (2-16) and Megan Schutt (2-30) tightened the screws, star legspinner Amanda-Jade Wellington delivered the final over with Brisbane needing 13 to win.

The Heat required 11 from the last three balls and Mikayla Hinkley cracked a six.

Next ball, she fell two metres short of delivering victory when caught just inside the mid-off boundary by Jemma Barsby.

“My heart stopped,” Wellington said.

“And then I saw Jemma getting settled under it about two metres in front of boundary.

“I was like, ‘Oh, come on, just hold it’ – and then she held it and I let out a big scream of relief and joy.”

With five required off the final ball, the Heat’s Nicola Hancock – who earlier starred with the ball – could muster only a single.

“I’m gutted … it’s a very bitter pill to swallow,” Heat captain Jess Jonassen said.

“If her (Hinkley’s) second shot went for two more metres, that’s a Heat victory.

“T20 cricket, a game of margins and unfortunately not meant to be.”

Wellington finished with 3-16 and the player of the match award after Brisbane’s run chase was on a proverbial knife-edge throughout – they were 2-54 after 10 overs.

Adelaide Strikers celebrate WBBL final victory over Brisbane Heat.
 Adelaide Strikers players celebrate their three-run WBBL final victory over the Brisbane Heat. Image by Matt Turner/AAP PHOTOS 

Adelaide skipper McGrath took wickets in consecutive deliveries in the 13th over and, with five overs remaining, the visitors required 45 more runs.

Brisbane’s Amelia Kerr (30no from 32 balls) coolly steered the visitors through the frantic final overs, only to fall just shy.

Earlier, the Strikers batters started brightly before losing momentum. From 2-71 after 10 overs, they managed only 54 more runs.

The Heat’s Hancock (3-23) was superb in a Strikers innings underpinned by Laura Wolvaardt (39 from 33 balls) and captain McGrath (38 from 34).

“It doesn’t get much closer than that,” McGrath said.

“We had to hang tight and believe and I’m super-proud.”