Strikers-Heat rivalry spices up WBBL|08 Challenger

Adelaide Strikers and Brisbane Heat will both head into tonight’s do-or-die WBBL Challenger final with added incentive to get the last laugh, as the rivalry between the clubs continues to fester.

The Strikers dumped the Heat from last season’s finals in stunning fashion at Adelaide Oval when a rampant Amanda-Jade Wellington took 5-8, but it was Brisbane who walked away on top when the sides last met nine days ago, holding on to win a thriller.

Strikers skipper Megan Schutt had a few typically cheeky fighting words to share in the lead-up to this week’s finals, after she asked which of the Heat or Hurricanes she would prefer to see advance to The Challenger.

“I’d love to beat the Heat,” Schutt told SEN SA Breakfast.

“They’re a team we enjoy beating and we should have won the other week in Adelaide.

“For me, it would be very sweet for the Heat to beat the Hurricanes and then we smoke the Heat.

“That’s my dream vision. When they’re out on the field the way they play their cricket is a bit arrogant, in my opinion … so we’ll try and bring them back down.”

A bumper crowd is expected at Karen Rolton Oval tonight, and Heat captain Jess Jonassen is determined to shock the locals into silence.

She said the team had learned from last year’s finals capitulation against the Strikers and would be better prepared this time around.

“We’ve learned a lot from that Eliminator last year,” Jonassen told Fox Cricket following Wednesday’s game when the Heat dispatched the Hobart Hurricanes.

“We cracked a bit under the pressure and we’ve spent a lot of time during the pre-season back in state land, and even throughout this campaign, talking about how to approach things slightly differently.

“The Strikers are a world-class outfit, they’ve got a number of international players in there.

“I think it’s going to be an absolute cracker … and hopefully (we can) send those Strikers fans home sad.”

Harris cameo lifts Heat before Jonassen grabs four

Adelaide had the advantage of sitting back and relaxing on Wednesday evening as the Heat coasted to a 44-run win over the Hurricanes in The Eliminator.

They will head into tonight’s game clearly the better rested of the sides, but given they won the Eliminator and Challenger back-to-back last year to advance to the final, they will not be resting on their laurels.

Meanwhile Heat batter Laura Harris admitted it would be a challenge for the Heat to get themselves up again on Thursday night, given they have not played games on consecutive days – something that is commonplace in the WBBL – at all this season.

“There’s a few of us oldies in the team that need the day off in between a lot of the time, so it’ll definitely be a different challenge for us,” Harris said.

Schutt records best ever WBBL figures

For her part, Harris is particularly looking forward to renewing acquaintances with Schutt, who she has enjoyed mixed results against this season.

Harris was at her destructive best against the Hurricanes in the Eliminator, hammering 44 off 14 balls, finding their medium-pace heavy attack was very much to her liking.

But the middle-order batter had mixed results against Strikers star Schutt this season; when the teams first met in Brisbane, Schutt bowled Harris for one.

Nine days ago in Adelaide, Harris hit Schutt for two hours and a six during a whirlwind innings of 20 off seven.

All you need to know for The Challenger

When is it?

Tonight! Thursday, November 24 at 7.10pm AEDT (6.40pm local)

How can I watch?

The Challenger will be broadcast on free-to-air television on 7Mate, while Fox Cricket will simulcast the match, which can also be streamed via Kayo on the Cricket Australia Live app. For those who like their cricket served up on the radio, ABC Grandstand will cater to all your listening needs.

Cricket.com.au and the CA Live app will have live scores and highlights of EVERY major moment, as well as replays of every wicket and every boundary in the match centre, plus web, video and social coverage.

How can I be there?

Grab your tickets now! Tickets went on sale on Monday morning and you can buy them HERE.

Squads

Adelaide Strikers: Tahlia McGrath (c), Jemma Barsby, Darcie Brown, Meagan Dixon, Deandra Dottin, Katie Mack, Tegan McPharlin (wk), Anesu Mushangwe, Annie O’Neil, Bridget Patterson, Madeline Penna, Megan Schutt, Amanda-Jade Wellington, Ella Wilson, Laura Wolvaardt

Brisbane Heat: Jess Jonassen (c), Amelia Kerr, Jess Kerr, Nicola Hancock, Grace Harris, Laura Harris, Ellie Johnston, Charli Knott, Grace Parsons, Georgia Redmayne, Courtney Sippel, Georgia Voll, Danni Wyatt

Form (most recent first)

Adelaide Strikers: WWL no. LWWLWWWWLL

Brisbane Heat: W no LWLWWWLLWWWWL

Head to head

At Allan Border Field in late October, the Strikers upset the Heat on their home turf with a 31-run win thanks to an inspired display with the ball from Darcie Brown and Megan Schutt.

FULL SCORECARD

South Africa star Laura Wolvaardt (46) and Katie Mack (35) led the way as the Strikers scored 8-140, before Brown (4-16) and Schutt (4-11) were instrumental in bowling the Heat out for 109 in 16.4 overs.

Heat hang on to defeat Strikers in final-ball thriller

When they next met at Karen Rolton Oval, the Heat got revenge when Kerr sisters combined to see their side to a thrilling final-ball win.

FULL SCORECARD

Amelia Kerr (3-26) and older sister Jess (1-13) helped the Heat defend a revised target of 118 in a rain-affected 16-over-a-side clash, winning by two runs (DLS) when the lone hand of Laura Wolvaardt (45 off 38) was not enough to drag the Strikers over the line.

Leading run scorers

Adelaide Strikers: Laura Wolvaardt (341 runs at 26.23, SR 106.89), Katie Mack (317 at 24.38, SR 109.68)

Brisbane Heat: Georgia Redmayne (347 at 38.55, SR 111.57), Grace Harris (274 at 21.07, SR 110)

Leading wicket takers

Adelaide Strikers: Megan Schutt (23 wickets at 13.13, eco 6.4), Amanda-Jade Wellington (21 wickets at 15.09, eco 6.62)

Brisbane Heat: Jess Jonassen (24 at 15, eco 6.92), Nicola Hancock (22 wickets at 18, eco 8.51)

Strengths and weaknesses

Adelaide Strikers

Laura Wolvaardt is finding her feet after a quiet start of the season and has now moved into the top five run scorers across the league, and Katie Mack has made consistent starts without going into a significant score. Worrying has been the form of Tahlia McGrath; 93 of her 213 runs for the season came in one innings – but in good news, that innings was last Friday, so the Strikers will hope things are turning around for their skipper.

The Strikers’ star-studded bowling attack has been settled this season and Megan Schutt and Amanda-Jade Wellington are in excellent form, while Jemma Barsby has been making an impact with her ambidextrous spin. McGrath has not bowled since missing matches with a back complaint midway through the season, depriving them of one option.

Brisbane Heat

The Heat’s batting line-up has it all; the experience of Danni Wyatt, the finesse and form of Georgia Redmayne and Amelia Kerr, powerful hitters in Grace Harris and Laura Harris, and youthful talent in Georgia Voll, Charli Knott and Ellie Johnston. But the Heat can be somewhat boom or bust with the bat, thanks to their go-hard-or-go-home approach.

With the ball, Heat skipper Jess Jonassen continues to be a class act winning matches for her team, while Nicola Hancock and Kerr are also enjoying standout seasons and sit high on the wickets chart, but the remainder of their attack has been less consistently effective.

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