Perth Scorchers and Sydney Thunder sealed the two remaining semifinals slots of the sixth edition of the Women’s Big Bash League, on the final league-round day on Sunday (November 22).

Even a blistering Alyssa Healy ton wasn’t enough to secure a semifinal berth for the league’s most successful team, Sydney Sixers, who missed out due to their poorer NRR (-0.084) as compared to that of Scorchers (0.355) despite their thumping five-wicket win over table-toppers Melbourne Stars in their rain-affected final league fixture.

Consequently, first-time qualifiers Stars will face Scorchers in the first semifinal, while Brisbane Heat will have to make it past Thunder in order to have a shot at the three-peat.

Melbourne Stars vs Sydney Sixers

Sixers needed to win big to upset Scorchers’ positive NRR and make it to the semis. Healy did everything in her might, bringing up her 48-ball hundred in the massive chase even though their target was upped to 184 by DLS method, from 179. However, the impossible equation required Sixers to have overhauled their target in about six overs. Ruled out short way into their chase, Sixers nonetheless ended their campaign with a consolation win, by five wickets, set up by Healy’s 111.

Healy hit half-a-dozen sixes, and another 15 boundaries, in her 52-ball entertaining knock that laid the platform for the highest successful chase against Stars this season. She was the dominant hand in the 150-run opening stand with her captain, Ellyse Perry. Sixers did fumble towards the end, losing four wickets for six runs, to find themselves in a soup at 156/4 towards the end of the 16th over. However, Angela Reakes plucked 13 off Nat Sciver’s final over of the day to ease those nerves, before hitting another boundary in the final over to level the scores.

Making life difficult for Sixers was a Meg Lanning masterclass in the first innings. The Stars’ skipper continued her rich vein of form to hit a 59-ball 77 out of the team’s 178. She took a backseat as Elyse Villani fetched nine boundaries in her 28-ball 45 that dominated their 79-run opening partnership. Lanning took over from there on, registering her sixth fifty of the season. Sciver provided the finishing touches with a stroke-filled 32 off 15. Marizanne Kapp (3-34) and Dane van Niekerk (1-34) accounted for all the four wickets that fell in Stars’ innings.

Brief scores: Melbourne Stars 178/4 in 19 overs (Meg Lanning 77, Elyse Villani 45, Nat Sciver 32; Marizanne Kapp 3-34) lost to Sydney Sixers 184-5 in 18.4 overs (Alyssa Healy 111, Ellyse Perry 31, Angela Reakes 21*; Tess Flintoff 3-32) by 5 wickets Match reduced to 19 overs per side due to rain.

Perth Scorchers vs Adelaide Strikers

It was Scorcher’s narrow three-run loss at the hands of Adelaide Strikers earlier in the day, following a dramatic batting collapse in a chase of 160, that left Sixers with an outside chance of making it to the semis.

From a rather comfortable 118/0 at the start of the 14th over, courtesy fifties from Sophie Devine and Beth Mooney, Scorchers slipped to be restricted to just 156/7, with only their NRR pulling them through to the knockouts. Both openers continued their rich form to lead the way in the chase, but once the duo fell, in the space of 10 runs and 10 balls, panic gripped the Scorchers’ middle order. A hat-trick of run outs at the fag end meant they just missed the target, as Strikers bagged a consolation win on their way out.

Earlier, Amanda Jade-Wellington was the top-scorer in Strikers’ 159 that saw contributions from all but one batter who took the field. Katie Mack (32) and Laura Wolvaardt (37) led the recovery after losing an early wicket, and Madeline Penna chipped in with a valuable run-a-ball 27 too. Wellington’s 25-ball knock helped Strikers up the ante. The allrounder hit two sixes and five boundaries in her 25-ball knock to set her team up for the winning total.

Brief scores: Adelaide Strikers 159/6 in 20 overs (Amanda Wellington 48, Laura Wolvaardt 37; Sarah Glenn 4-18) beat Perth Scorchers 156/7 in 20 overs (Beth Mooney 60, Sophie Devine 57) by three runs.

Sydney Thunder vs Hobart Hurricanes

Thunder secured their passage to the knockouts with a comfortable six-wicket win over bottom-dwellers Hobart Hurricanes, fashioned by a clinical bowling show. Shabnim Ismail led the way with her 3 for 10, ripping through the Hurricanes top order. The team never fully recovered from 3/4 in three overs, with only Rachael Priest (32) and Sasha Moloney putting on a decent 57-run stand to lend the score some respectability. Skipper Corinne Hall pushed them into triple-figures with her unbeaten 24 off 18.

But the 116-run target was too less to challenge Thunder’s batting. Despite skipper Rachael Haynes falling early, Tammy Beaumont (22), Rachel Trenaman (16) and Heather Knight (25) all chipped in to help Thunder sail into the semis. Phoebe Litchfield, again, made a telling contribution in the lower order, her 24 not out ensuring Thunder got over the line with 19 balls to spare.

Brief scores: Hobart Hurricanes 115/9 in 20 overs (Sasha Moloney 39, Rachael Priest 32; Shabnim Ismail 3-10, Hannah Darlington 3-24) lost to Sydney Thunder 116-4 in 16.5 overs (Heather Knight 25, Phoebe Litchfield 24*; Nicola Carey 2-23) by six wickets.

Melbourne Renegades vs Brisbane Heat

Brisbane Heat took another step towards a probable historic three-peat, successfully defending 144 against Melbourne Renegades in a rain-affected encounter, notching up their seventh consecutive victory on the trot ahead of the semifinals.

Amelia Kerr starred with her allround show, hitting 35 not off 26 in the batting innings to set Heat up for a respectable 144/6 from their allotted overs. She returned to claim 2 for 24 with the ball, as Heat bowlers, led by Georgia Prestwidge’s 4-12, ran through the Renegades line-up to shoot them out for just 76 in reply. Skipper Jess Jonassen too chipped in with a 2-6; while Amy Satterthwaite and Courtney Webb top-scored with 14 apiece in the chase.

Brief scores: Brisbane Heat 144/6 in 17 overs (Amelia Kerr 35, Georgia Voll 20; Lea Tahuhu 2-16) beat Melbourne Renegades 76 all out in 16.2 overs (Amy Saterthwaite 14; Georgia Prestwidge 4-12, Jess Jonassen 2-6, Amelia Kerr 2-24) by 43 runs on DLS method.

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