WBBL finalists Adelaide.
The Adelaide Strikers will be chasing a third straight WBBL title when they host the Brisbane Heat. Image by Jono Searle/AAP PHOTOS
  • cricket

Heat barbs add fuel to Strikers’ fire for WBBL final

Steve Larkin December 1, 2023

The Adelaide Strikers have extra motivation to claim a hat-trick of WBBL titles after a war of words with their opponents Brisbane Heat, captain Tahlia McGrath says.

McGrath says the verbal barbs from Heat opener Grace Harris, who returned fire at Strikers quick Megan Schutt, have set the scene for Saturday night’s final at Adelaide Oval.

Harris this week dismissed Schutt’s suggestion that the Heat were arrogant as “the pot calling the kettle black”.

McGrath says the by-play came from Australian teammates who were among the biggest characters in the women’s game – but Harris’ comments had been noted.

“When there’s a little bit extra on the line and there’s some things being said behind the scenes, of course you’re going to lift,” McGrath told reporters on Friday.

“It’s a final as well, you’re going to lift.

“Grace Harris is in some unbelievable form so we can’t wait to get out there and match-up against her.”

Heat skipper Jess Jonassen rejected Schutt’s assertion, made last season but dug up before the finale, of the Brisbane-based side being arrogant.

“To Grace’s point about when we’re playing really well we’re a pretty good side, I agree with that,” Jonassen told reporters.

“We do have the confidence. And if that’s perceived as something else, then so be it.

“But we back the style of play that we have and we believe in that … and ultimately that’s what it comes down to, we’re really clear as a team what we’re about.

“That’s how you have got to play T20 cricket.

“It’s really role-based and that ability to get the job done in whatever situation and however you need to.”

The Strikers are seeking a third consecutive crown and have featured in four of the past five finals.

“We’ve been in this situation four times in the last five years and we’ve kept that same core group for pretty much all those finals, so we’re really calm,” McGrath said.

“We’re really excited and we’re stoked that it’s a home final, we haven’t played a grand final in front of the home crowd.

“And we’ve played some really good games at home this year, we’re undefeated at home and love it when we have that crowd supporting us.”

Adelaide booked a straight passage into the final after finishing top after the regular season while Brisbane had to win two knockout finals in Perth this week to reach the decider.

McGrath described that as an advantage to the Strikers but Jonassen disagreed.

“All teams have been in a similar position with the amount of travel but we’ve got some really good momentum at an ideal and opportunistic time,” Jonassen said.