Brisbane Heat powerhouse Laura Kimmince is bordering on unstoppable.
The big-hitter put her team on track for a third consecutive WBBL title after an outstanding display with the bat sealed a stunning come-from-behind win over the Perth Scorchers on Wednesday.
While teen gun Charli Knott hit the winning runs with four balls remaining, it was Kimmince who ensured the win with a masterful innings of 40 off just 17 deliveries, finishing not out.
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In her last three bats, Kimmince has scored 104 runs, off just 37 balls, including 14 fours and seven sixes.
After restricting the Scorchers to 8-137, the Heat would have fancied their chances at Sydney’s Hurstville Oval.
They were reeling at 3-12 after losing senior players Grace Harris and Jess Jonassen for ducks in the opening over before Georgia Voll holed out in the second over.
Then Kimmince got going again to push them to victory.
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“I haven’t really (thrived in that situation) before but I guess the last couple of games proved otherwise,” Kimmince said. “I think it’s a bit more belief now that I do have the freedom to play my own game and if it comes off, it comes off.
“We bat right the way through (the order), so when you’re backed in at that number (six) to go out there you want to keep the game moving forward otherwise you’re putting pressure on everyone else that comes in after you.
“We’re just excited to be back in the winners’ circle again, we had a tough couple of games in the middle there but (we decided) to keep backing ourselves and aren’t afraid to play with that freedom,” she said. “Watching the last few games there’s been a massive turnaround.”
The win – the Heat’s fifth in a row – pushes them to second place on the ladder and all but seals their place in the top four, while the Scorchers remain in contention for a semi-final spot despite the loss.
With Beth Mooney on the cusp of a half-century and threatening to lead the Scorchers to a big score, Laura Kimmince took a screamer to dismiss the Aussie representative.
Mooney had been frustrated the ball before by Kiwi spinner Amelia Kerr and played an uncontrolled cut shot the following ball with Kimmince diving full length to take a spectacular one-handed catch to dismiss Mooney for 49 (39 balls).
Kimmince displayed power and restraint in her matchwinning innings, belting four fours and three sixes but keeping her wicket intact as the Heat fought back from a disastrous start to their innings.
English leg spinner Sarah Glenn picked up four wickets in a mercurial spell for the Scorchers.
After conceding five wides from her first ball, she snared the wickets of Grace Harris and Jess Jonassen for ducks in her first over before bowling Maddy Green to break a key Heat partnership and finish her spell with the scalp of Kiwi international Amelia Kerr.
Melbourne Renegades have finally found some form, but is it too little too late?
Despite being bottom of the WBBL06 ladder, the ‘Gades will have real impact on shaping who makes the finals, because when they’re on fire – as they were with both bat and ball in their seven-wicket win over the Adelaide Strikers at Sydney Showground on Wednesday – they can beat anyone.
The win was built on the back of a solid day from allrounder Sophie Molineux, who took 1-18 with the ball and then opened the batting, making 52 off 43 balls before Tahlia McGrath sent her bails scattering.
As for the Strikers, just as their family and friends back home were being told they would be in strict six-day lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19, they looked somewhat out of sorts: from collapsing with the bat to 6-88 by the end of the 18th over (able to manage 6-122 thanks to more big-hitting from Maddie Penna), to their bowlers being whacked across the oval.
The ‘Gades reached the winning target with 15 balls to spare.
Their third win of the season keeps their very slim chances of making finals alive. In fact it will take an absolute miracle; but, hey, Christmas is coming …
They’ll need to win their remaining two games – and win them big – and then have other results fall their way – to make finals by a whisker, but the commanding win against Adelaide was a good start.
Molineux was handed the ball for the second over with immediate effect, breaking the opening partnership, having Katie Mack caught for 4 (6). The inability of the Strikers openers to have any decent partnership, set the tone for the game, with wickets falling regularly and the recognised batters unable to make significant inroads into a big total.
The Renegades’ opening partnership between Lizelle Lee and Sophie Molineux was electric: notching up the 50-run milestone by the end of the sixth over in their best power play performance of the season so far.
Lee in particular was in a mood, taking Darcie Brown for 14 runs in over number two and continuing on to hit long sixes over deep mid-wicket. Lee’s innings came to an end on 48 (33), caught by Megan Schutt off the bowling of Amanda-Jade Wellington. Her knock included six fours and two sixes.
Renegades quick Carly Leeson again proved her worth, taking figures of 3/14 from her four overs. She picked up two key wickets of Stafanie Taylor (16 runs off 22 balls) and Wellington (3 from 5) two balls apart in the 17th over. But most important of her trio was the excellent caught-and-bowled to dismiss big-hitting Laura Wolvaardt who topscored for Adelaide with 36 (40). That wicket was key to slowing the Strikers momentum with the bat. She was Player of the Match.