A determined WBBL Hurricanes side has fallen just short of a fast-finishing Melbourne Stars outfit in the first of back-to-back rebel WBBL|04 weekend matches today at West Park in Burnie.
Much has been made of Indian star Smriti Mandhana's signing with #TasmaniasTeam, but local fans will have to wait perhaps just a day longer to see some of her trademark strokeplay, with the opener falling to a catch in the deep in the first over without troubling the scorers.
Erin Fazackerley provided plenty of highlights in last weekend's opening match against the Perth Scorchers, but managed just the one boundary before she too fell to a catch off the bowling of former Hurricane Nicola Hancock.
Hayley Matthews steadied the innings briefly with four boundaries in 16 deliveries before she departed on 18, followed quickly to the dugout by Stefanie Daffara.
With the Hurricanes on 4-48 after seven overs, England captain Heather Knight and Corinne Hall went to work, compiling a solid partnership of 51while increasing the run rate.
The 1136-strong crowd was left holding their collective breath when Hall departed on 26, but soon became vocal as Knight lit up West Park late in the innings.
Forced to sit out of the WBBL|03 season through injury, Knight made up for lost time, smashing nine boundaries and three sixes, two of which came in the final over delivered by Hancock.
She finished on a remarkable 82 not out from 55 deliveries, guiding the hosts to a competitive total of 6-158 from 20 overs.
A Veronica Pyke maiden set the scene for the Hurricanes' early fortunes in the field, with Meg Phillips claiming the key wicket of last weekend's century-maker Lizelle Lee when the renowned boundary-hitter was on just two runs.
Wickets to Brooke Hepburn and Hayley Matthews followed in quick succession, with some sharp fielding and tight bowling resulting in the Stars being restricted to a miserly score in the powerplay; just 3-26 off the crucial six overs.
The Hurricanes had another wicket soon after, with Erin Fazackerley holding onto a difficult chance on the run to hand Matthews her second scalp.
From then on the tempo of the innings shifted, as Stars duo Erin Osborne and Mignon Du Preez dug deep to rally the visiting side into a competitive situation.
The Stars required 40 runs from the final five overs, and when Phillips removed the dangerous Osborne for 67, the home crowd were hopeful.
Corinne Hall made sure the pressure was felt, with several diving efforts in the field in the dying overs ensuring the game would go down to the wire.
The Stars managed to hit the winning runs with just a ball to spare, no doubt leaving the Hurricanes determined to ensure Sunday's rematch plays out differently.
The Hurricanes will return to West Park at 10am to face the Stars in part two of the Big Burnie Weekend.
Entry to the game is free, with a live stream available at www.cricket.com.au