Adelaide Strikers 149 for 4 (Patterson 36*, Wolvaardt 28, Prestwidge 2-19) beat Melbourne Renegades 148 for 5 (Duffin 54, Harmanpreet 45, Adams 1-9) by six wickets
Late hitting from Bridget Patterson powered defending champions Adelaide Strikers past struggling Melbourne Renegades at Karen Rolton Oval in their WBBL fixture on Wednesday.
Despite a gulf between the teams on the ladder, Strikers were made to work and the target of 149 was not easy on a tricky surface. But Patterson was superb at the death, finishing unbeaten on 36 from 26 balls as Strikers claimed victory with an over to spare.
Renegades’ total had been built around a 96-run fourth-wicket partnership between Harmanpreet Kaur and Jess Duffin after they had slumped at 41 for 3.
After that, Renegades needed early wickets under lights, but were thwarted by aggressive opener Katie Mack in the powerplay. She used her feet to great effect against offspinner Hayley Mathews and capitalised on wayward short bowling from 16-year-old quick Sara Kennedy.
Bowling at speeds close to 120kph, Kennedy has impressed in her debut season but struggled for rhythm, and conceded 15 runs in the third over amid Mack’s flier.
Mack had the boundary in her sights on almost every delivery before holing out to Matthews after scoring 24.
Captain Tahlia McGrath became the second Strikers batter to pass 2000 WBBL runs and was untroubled along with Laura Wolvaardt. They were in cruise control at the halfway mark before both fell after the drinks break to seamer Georgia Prestwidge.
Danielle Gibson, the hero in their thrilling chase against Perth Scorchers, was set to again lead Strikers over the line before falling to Kennedy with 26 runs still needed. But Patterson calmly stepped up as Strikers moved back to the top of the ladder.
Renegades’ finals hopes, however, appear forlorn after losing their sixth straight game.
After electing to bat on a lively surface, Renegades desperately needed Matthews to find form after she had scored just 99 runs from seven innings.
She didn’t face up immediately with Tammy Beaumont smashing a first-ball boundary from offspinner Georgia Adams and added another lusty blow three balls later.
But on the last ball of the over, when she finally went on strike, Matthews was cramped for room attempting a cut shot to be caught behind for a golden duck. It was the second time this season Matthews had fallen to Adams and the fourth time she has failed to reach double-figures.
Renegades’ top-order woes continued when a frustrated Courtney Webb was stumped after being lured out of her crease by a looping delivery from legspinner Amanda-Jade Wellington that spun sharply off the pitch.
Beaumont, who had been reprieved on 12 when legspinner Anesu Mushangwe dropped a tough return catch, was bowled by Gibson as Renegades stared down the barrel.
In a familiar tale, the pressure was on Harmanpreet, who again dug Renegades out of trouble. She targeted Wellington down the ground and also played with trademark inventiveness, including several well-executed scoops, as she mastered the two-paced surface.
Duffin provided strong support and after a slow start she overtook Harmanpreet with a slew of belligerent strokes. Both batters fell at the death with Harmanpreet brilliantly caught by McGrath low to her left at cover.
Mushangwe deservedly picked up the wicket of Duffin to finish with 1 for 18 off four overs in a disciplined performance that the Renegades bowlers were unable to replicate later in the night.