The Hobart Hurricanes have missed an opportunity to continue their perfect start to the season losing to the Adelaide Strikers by 3 runs at the Alan Border Field in Brisbane.
From the moment Corinne Hall won the toss and sent the Strikers in to bat things seemed to fall in to place for the Hurricanes. But persistence in the field and good tight bowling meant that Adelaide dragged the game into the final over and despite another classy knock from Nicola Carey Hobart wasn’t able to chase down the modest target of 113.
The game hinged on the penultimate ball. Experienced Kiwi international Sophie Devine bowled to the left handed Carey with 5 runs required to win, Carey hit the ball sweetly in to the on side but a smart running catch by Katie Mack not only ended the innings of Carey but denied the Hurricanes the boundary that seemed likely when it left the bat.
Such are the fine margins that determine an outcome of a game as close as this.
For large parts of the Strikers innings it seemed unlikely they would make a total of more than three figures. They’ll look back on a partnership of 35 runs off 23 balls between Sarah Coyte and Tegan McPharlin for the eighth wicket as the turning point of the game. The Strikers final total of 113 would have happily exceeded their expectations midway through the innings.
In the field the Hurricanes were nearly flawless, the attack lead by Tayla Vlaeminck who finished with figures of 2 for 18 off her four overs bowled well on a slow but true wicket. The fielding and catching were top class highlighted by two long run out throws from Belinda Vakawera and Stefanie Daffara. Despite the late flurry of runs from Coyte and McPharlin the Hurricanes went to the innings break with a bounce in their step.
The run chase never found its way out of second gear though. Daffara holed out to mid-off from the first ball she faced from Megan Schutt. Partnerships developed through the innings but top order players Erin Fazackerly (20), Heather Knight (17), and Fran Wilson (13) were never able to wrestle the run rate below six an over. The Hurricanes left themselves vulnerable to a late squeeze from the Strikers. The Strikers themselves must have felt it wasn’t their day when two straight forward catches went down in the 4th over but their heads never dropped and come the final over it was the Hurricanes who wore the furrowed brows of a team under the pump.
When the hard hitting South African Chloe Tryon was carelessly was run out with two balls left in the 19th over you got a sense it might not be the Hurricanes day after all.
The impressive Nicola Carey did everything she could to get her team over the line but it was a day when the team that was behind in the game nearly all day stole the win. The Strikers can thank a late partnership, a tidy spell of one for 12 off four overs from Tahlia McGrath and the invaluable leadership of Kiwi pair Suzy Bates and Sophie Devine for that.
The Hurricanes live to fight another day and no doubt will be a wiser and stronger team when they line up against the Brisbane Heat at the same venue on Sunday afternoon…