Perth Scorchers 161 for 3 (Mooney 52, Darke 45*) beat Hobart Hurricanes 158 (Stalenberg 54, Ainsworth 3-25) by seven wickets
Beth Mooney smashed a rapid half-century at a batting-friendly WACA ground as Perth Scorchers continued their stranglehold over Hobart Hurricanes with a crushing win.
Openers Mooney and Lauren Winfield-Hill ate into the target of 159 with a 68-run partnership. But Winfield-Hill slowed down after seemingly being hobbled by a leg injury and fell in ungainly fashion when her reverse sweep lobbed to third short.
Mooney raced to her half-century off 28 balls before being bowled by quick Shabnim Ismail after stepping away and exposing her stumps. Scorchers were never in danger as youngster Maddy Darke found form. She had only hit 38 runs in 10 previous WBBL innings, but calmly made 45 not not as Scorchers chased the target down in the 19th over and bounced back from a loss to Brisbane Heat.
Hurricanes, however, failed to shrug their perception as an also-ran. After a big home defeat to Scorchers in their season-opener, they appeared set for more humiliation when they were reeling at 67 for 6 at the halfway mark of their innings.
But they fought back with an 84-run partnership between Naomi Stalenberg and Hayley Silver-Holmes dominating the second half of the innings as Hurricanes finished with an unexpected flurry.
It ultimately proved nowhere near enough with Scorchers’ batters dominating on a WACA pitch that for the first time this domestic season had trademark characteristics of bounce and pace.
In searing late afternoon heat of 34 degrees Celsius, Hurricanes elected to bat on a green-tinged pitch that played notably differently to the bland surface used in last week’s Sheffield Shield match.
On a faster surface and quick outfield, Hurricanes eyed a strong start in the powerplay and skipper Elyse Villani obliged with enterprising batting after missing the season-opener due to illness.
She collared speedster Stella Campbell with scoop shots, but mistimed a flick to fine leg only for Piepa Cleary to drop a straightforward chance.
She powered Hurricanes to 27 runs in the powerplay before Lizelle Lee holed out to offspinner Lilly Mills in the fifth over. Scorchers relied on their spinners to claw back into the contest with legspinner Alana King, who opened the bowling, dismissing Bryony Smith and Ruth Johnston.
King’s most important contribution might have been running out Villani, whose 26-ball 39 ended disappointingly when she hesitated turning back for the second run.
King and Mills frustrated Hurricanes by expertly utilising the pitch with quicker, darting deliveries that caused all sorts of problems for a succession of bewildered batters.
Hurricanes were also in a rut against Scorchers’ seamers with 18-year-old quick Chloe Ainsworth clean bowling Heather Graham with a pearler of a delivery that knocked out middle stump.
Celebrating with gusto, Ainsworth continued her impressive start to her WBBL career having also dismissed Graham in the previous match.
When Cleary bowled Molly Strano, Hurricanes appeared headed for embarrassment and their second straight match of being unable to cross triple figures.
But Stalenberg and Silver-Holmes stepped up under pressure and put the foot down with 22 runs in the two-over power surge.
They capitalised on increasingly ragged Scorchers fielding before Stalenberg holed out in the 19th over.
Hurricanes’ momentum was unable to spill over with the ball as Scorchers romped to a convincing victory to spark cheer from the smattering of fans on the WACA’s refurbished famous grass banks.